The once all conquering West Indies became the latest team officially eliminated from the 2019 Cricket World Cup, bowing out with a whimper as India crushed them by 125 runs at Old Trafford, Manchester
The West Indies, already with four losses to their name after six games, needed a win to keep their slimmest of hopes of making the Semi Finals alive. But, despite restricting India to a respectable 268/7 from their 50 bowling overs, they fell well short in their run chase, being bowled out for a paltry 143 in just 34.2 overs – a desperate effort with their World Cup on the line.
To be fair, the Indian bowling was exceptional – and far better ODI teams than the current West Indies outfit may well have struggled to chase down 268. Only Sunil Ambris managed to score over 30, in the face of virtually unplayable line and length from Jasprit Bumrah (above), seemingly in competition with Australia’s Mitchell Starc for becoming the bowling MVP of the tournament, and hostile pace and precision from Mohammed Shami. Their combined figures read 12.2 overs, 1 maiden, 6 wickets for just 25 runs. Stunning by any stretch of the imagination.
At no stage of the contest did the West Indies feel in with a shout of winning. Despite getting dangerman Rohit Sharma out relatively early, the Indian batsmen were already scoring at five an over, and again setting a platform for a daunting score. To their credit, the West Indies bowlers kept the Indian batsmen honest – but Virat Kohli (above), again, proved a particularly awkward thorn to remove, scoring his fourth successive 50+ score in the World Cup and formed crucial partnerships with Rahul, Shankar and Jadhav. When the West Indies finally removed Kohli, MS Dhoni simply picked up the baton and continued the Indian crusade – hitting an unbeaten 56 in just 61 balls. Some lusty blows from colleague Pandya (46 from 38 balls) took India to a total the West Indies would do exceptionally well to reach. More maybe expected from the flambouyant side, but the game had gone – as had their World Cup.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder was honest in reflection : “We let ourselves down significantly. I don’t think we seized the crucial moments in this tournament as we should have. We missed crucial chances in the field which cost us. The bowlers had a reasonable campaign to be fair – everything we asked of them they came and delivered. We didn’t really support (them) as well as we liked in the field. We let ourselves down tremendously in the field. In terms of batting we were just too inconsistent.”
The feeling, for the West Indies, is that, where their batting is concerned, unless Chris Gayle performs, they simply do not have the capability to put totals on the board or construct a run chase successfully. The game against New Zealand a case in point….Carlos Brathwaite performing heroics where his higher positioned colleagues had failed – and when getting the West Indies into a position to win, needing just 6 runs from 7 balls – eminently achievable even batting with their #11, he couldn’t resist taking a swipe to win the game in one shot – and clutching glorious defeat from the jaws of an improbable victory.
The West Indies will always be synonymous with the greats of ODI cricket…but the current version is a far, far cry from those halcyon days – and with the ‘Universe Boss’ (above) likely to hang up his bat soon, you wonder if those days will ever return.
For India, their dominance continues. Their Semi Final place is all but assured – and you wonder just who, if anyone, can stop them from what seems an irrepressible march to World Cup glory.
WEST INDIES v INDIA – MATCH SUMMARY
- India Batting : 268/7 (Kohli 72, Dhoni 56no, Rahul 48, Pandya 46)
- West Indies Bowling : Roach 3/36, Holder 2/33, Cottrell 2/50
- West Indies Batting : 143 all out (Ambris 31, Pooran 28, Hetmyer 18)
- India Bowling : Shami 4/16, Bumrah 2/9, Chahal 2/39
- Man of the Match : Virat Kohli
- Venue : Old Trafford, Manchester
- Date : Thursday 27 June, 2019