World Cup: West Indies quicks rekindle memories of World Cup glory

Oshane Thomas led the way against Pakistan with four for 27, while Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell and captain Jason Holder provided good support, as West Indies cruised to a seven-wicket win.

West Indies thrashed Pakistan in its 2019 World Cup opener, thanks mainly to its four pacers.   -  Getty Images

Jason Holder's West Indies is reviving memories of its World Cup glory days with a pace attack that has the ability to strike fear into opposition batsmen.

The two-time champion opened its campaign at the tournament in England and Wales by bowling out Pakistan for just 105 at Trent Bridge as its quicks made good use of the bouncer.

Oshane Thomas led the way with four for 27, while Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell and captain Holder provided good support as West Indies cruised to a seven-wicket win.

When West Indies beat Australia in the inaugural 1975 World Cup final at Lord's, their side included a four-man pace battery.

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And when it defeated England four years later in another Lord's final to retain its title, the West Indies did so with the original “fearsome foursome” of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner.

Nobody is suggesting the current line-up is yet in that class but the fact they bowled Pakistan out cheaply without Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel shows that, once again, West Indies has an impressive stock of fast bowlers.

And it was further evidence that, although it only scraped into this World Cup via a qualifying tournament, it is more than capable of beating anyone on its day.

Australia, who began the defence of its title with a seven-wicket rout of outsiders Afghanistan, will pose a far sterner challenge at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

But the West Indies, which has won two of the past three World Twenty20 tournaments, will take heart from the way Thomas bounced out David Warner in a warm-up match in Southampton last month.




One danger for the West Indies is that it becomes “bouncer happy” and uses the tactic too often, with Warner and Steve Smith, both returning from one-year bans for ball tampering, more than capable of putting away any misdirected short stuff.

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, a two-time World Cup winner, has been impressed by what he has seen from the West Indies so far.

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“For the first time in a long while they have fast-bowling depth,” Waugh said. “Every side in this tournament will be wary of playing the Windies and I wouldn't want to face them in a knockout match."

“They are the sort of team that, if they get on a roll and build some momentum, then they could win it all.”

As for a batting order in which Chris Gayle is one of several big-hitters, Waugh said: “They are the most watchable team in the tournament with a batting line-up that can kidnap any bowling attack with brute force.”

Australia, however, has plenty of pace in left-arm quick Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.

Clive Lloyd, the captain of the West Indies sides that won the 1975 and 1979 World Cups, said: “Australia have got some firepower and some very good batsmen.

“We just need to see what happens when the pressure is on the West Indies, but the game against Australia should do that, as that will be a good test of where we are at.”

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