A team which can be unpredictable is the West Indies outfit let by Jason Holder. On their day they can steamroll anyone but they can self-destruct as well. If we see their history at the world cup, they reached the finals of the 1st 3, winning 2 and losing in 1983 to Kapil Dev’s devils. Since then they have not done well. They had a good chance in the 1996 semifinals versus Australia, when chasing 208, they were at a confident and winning position of 165/2 but they somehow imploded to lose by 5 runs. Since then they have never reached the semi-finals.
“Universe Boss” Chris Gayle and skipper Holder will be seeking to set the records straight and take West Indies into the semi-finals since thereafter at knockout stage they would feel anything is possible. As Gayle who has himself says bowlers across the world are scared of him as “they know what the Universe boss is capable of and in the back of their minds, they think, Hey this is the most dangerous batsman we have seen in cricket”.
The composition of the West Indies team is as follows:
Batsmen: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo and Shemron Hetmyer
Wicket-keeper/Batsmen: Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope
Allrounders: Jason Holder (Captain), Andre Russell and Carlos Braithwaite and the fast bowling allrounders who are big hitters as well. The spin bowling allrounders are Ashley Nurse and Fabian Allen
Bowlers: The four quicks are Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Sheldon Cottrell
If we see the Composition of the West Indies, on their day they can defeat anyone. Gayle and Lewis are explosive at the to, and in the format of 9 matches to be played, one against every team, Gayle certainly is capable of winning at least 2 matches on his own. Bravo exudes class while Hetmyer and Hope have not just shown promise but have won matches with their batting.
West Indies has amazing batting firepower in the late middle order as well. Andre Russell can make any asking rate seem easy while Braithwaite can explode as well. Will Stokes ever forget his last over of the 2016 T 20 World Cup. He needed to defend 19 in the last over and would have backed himself to defend it. England would have felt confident as well. Braithwaite had other ideas. 6, 6, 6, 6 were hit and West Indies won the T20 world cup, the 1st team to win it for a second time. They will be seeking to defend it in 2020 and will be top contenders. Before that, they would like to win the ODI World Cup as well after 40 years.
In wicketkeeping, the team has Pooran as well as Hope and therefore there is back up. Pace bowling is a strength with 4 quicks and they have spin back up as well.
If there is any weakness, it is that the batting can self destruct. The bowling too may become uni-dimensional as well. They have to guard against complacency since as such with fewer teams there are as such no easier matches to play and every match has to be taken seriously.
West Indies start off against the equally unpredictable Pakistan on 31st May and then play Australia, South Africa and England. All are tough matches and by then it will be more clear as regards their progress or otherwise. All said and done, West Indies are a dangerous team and whether they qualify for semi-finals or not, they are not to be taken lightly and can upset any team, especially if Universe boss gets going.
The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS Officer currently based in Mumbai. He tweets @riteshmisra. His hobbies are sports, films, and music.
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