West Indies lost its Super Six match against Scotland on Saturday in the World Cup Quaifiers and crashed out of the race to advance to the ODI World Cup 2023 in India in October and November.
This edition will be the first where the two-time world champion will not feature.
The qualifiers, where Shai Hope’s side was touted as favourite along with Sri Lanka, proved to be a tournament to forget as it succumbed to three losses in the competition.
THE USA HICCUP
Signs were ominous from its campaign opener against the United States of America.
Johnson Charles, Hope, Roston Chase and Jason Holder all struck fifties as West Indies made 297 runs in the first innings. USA had a far from ideal start and was left reeling at 97 for five.
Gajanand Singh, however, gave West Indies a scare. Walking in at number six, Gajanand’s counter-attacking knock won the momentum back for USA. He was aided as West Indies dropped a catch when he was on zero.
Thankfully for coach Darren Sammy, West Indies managed to get through as Gajanand, unbeaten on 101, fell short of partners at the other end. West Indies won the game by 39 runs.
SLIP UP AGAINST ZIMBABWE
West Indies won its next match against Nepal by 101 runs and geared up to face the host Zimbabwe.
The coin flip favoured Hope and he elected to bowl. For the first half of the innings, the bowling unit justified the decision. Zimbabwe was 112 for four at the 25-over mark.
West Indies, however, let Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl claw Zimbabwe back into the game with an 87-run partnership. Raza was dropped twice - first on one and second on three.
Once West Indies got rid of the pair, it struggled to wrap up the tail. Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani added 25 runs for the last wicket to take the total to 268.
In the run chase, multiple West Indies batters got a start only to give away their wickets. West Indies fell short by 33 runs.
Hope admitted at the post match presentation that the dropped chances and the final-wicket stand took the game away from their reach.
SUPER OVER LOSS TO NETHERLANDS
This was the game that really knocked the wind out of West Indies’ sail. The side scored 374 runs in the first innings and still ended up losing.
Having been put to bat, West Indies managed to score at a healthy rate. Until, Pooran walked in. It was blitzkreig after that. Pooran scored a 65-ball 104 and catapulted the total to 374.
Yet again, West Indies made early dents into the opposition batting order. Yet again, it allowed the opposition to come back.
Teja Nidamanuru and Scott Edwards combined for a 143-run fifth wicket partnership and took Netherlands from 170 for four to 313 for five in 15 overs. Logan van Beek and Aryan Dutt provided the final flourish and Netherlands forced a Super Over.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Van Beek, after his 14-ball 28 in the chase, walked out to bat in the Super Over. Holder was to bowl to him.
Four, six, four, six, six and four read the over chart. Holder offered two full tosses, two wide, short deliveries and two more right in the slot. He conceded 30 runs from the over and the contest was all but sealed.
West Indies started off with a six in reply but lost both their wickets for eight.
With a Super Six format, one loss was an uphill task to come back from. Two losses and the odds were stacked against West Indies. It made it to the second round of the tournament but carried forward zero points.
SCOTLAND DELIVERS THE FINAL NAIL
West Indies was put to bat in Saturday’s do-or-die match. In the crucial fixture, its batters failed to step up. Charles, Shamarh Brooks and Kyle Mayers got single digit scores.
Holder and Romario Shephard provided some crucial rearguard to take the total closer to 200 but 181 is all the team could score.
Scotland’s run-chase got off to a less-than-ideal possible start as Christopher McBride deprated on the first delivery. It could have been much worse if Mayers hung onto Brandon McMullen’s catch. He was on 21 then. McMullen ended up with 69 runs as Scotland completed a seven-wicket win.
Over the course of the qualifiers, a common theme was West Indies’ sloppy fielding. Captain and coach both emphasised on the dropped chances and the West Indies’ need to improve.
Further, the batters were guilty of not building on their starts and letting the momentum slip away.
A deeper analysis of the debacle would perhaps trigger the long-pending seismic changes in West Indies cricket. For now, cricket tries to come to terms with West Indies’ absence from its quadrennial showpiece event.
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