Defeat against Australia a tough pill to swallow, says Hope

Australia, which was reeling at 79/5, recovered from the batting collapse to post 288 all out on the back of a match-winning knock by Nathan Coulter-Nile (92). Hope’s composed knock of 68 wasn’t enough to help WI cross the finish line.

West Indies' Shai Hope reacts after losing his wicket for 68 during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Australia and West Indies at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.   -  AFP

Wicket-keeper Shai Hope admitted the manner of West Indies’ defeat to Australia was a hard pill to swallow after his side enjoyed a commanding position for majority of the game at Trent Bridge.

Australia, which was reeling at 79/5, recovered from the batting collapse to post 288 all out on the back of a match-winning knock by Nathan Coulter-Nile (92) and a valuable anchoring role by Steve Smith (73).

A brilliant bowling spell by left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc (5/46) was sufficient to ensure a 15-run victory for Australia — despite Hope’s composed knock of 68.

“This is going to be a tough pill to swallow having basically been dominating the game for the majority of it and then not being able to cross the line,” Hope said.

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“Regardless of what happens we have to play cricket on the day. We always play the best we possibly can and the better team will win on the day,” he added.

It was ultimately scant consolation but both Hope and outfielder Sheldon Cottrell grasped stunning catches during the game.

Hope delighted the crowd when he flew to his left to scoop up a one-handed grab that removed Usman Khawaja for 13 off the bowling of Andre Russell.

But the 25-year-old admits he was bettered by Cottrell’s effort to finally dismiss Smith — as he caught the ball one-handed while tip-toeing along the boundary rope, then flicked the ball back in the air as he crossed the rope before stepping back on to the field complete the catch.

“Easily (the better catch), that was an amazing effort. At first I wasn’t sure if he had it but then I realised it was a proper catch.”

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“For mine, it was just one of those things. I just had to go — I didn’t really have much time to think. Andre bowled a pretty decent delivery and I just saw the white thing and tried to catch it.”

The West Indies’ seam quartet of Russell, Cottrell, Carlos Brathwaite and Oshane Thomas caused havoc with aggressive, short-pitched bowling with the new ball before Australia recovered and Hope insists the team will continue with the tactic.

“Most definitely, as long as you get wickets with the new ball you always put teams under pressure,” he said.

“It was just unfortunate we couldn’t drive home and get the tail in a bit earlier. But that’s how cricket plays and we know Australia are a quality side. They’ve shown us that they can build,” Hope said.