‘We’ve let ourselves down significantly!’ …Windies skipper Holder laments team’s dismal batting performance

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Jason Holder (Getty Images)
Jason Holder

(Jamaica Observer) MANCHESTER, England — A desperately dismal batting performance in yesterday’s crushing 125–run loss to India wiped out any hope the West Indies camp had of squeezing into the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.

After restricting India to 268-7 on an Old Trafford pitch that offered variable pace and bounce, the West Indies lost their last eight wickets for 72 runs to be dismissed for 143 in the 35th over.

The two-time former champions, with only three points from seven games, are sent crashing out. On the other hand, the unbeaten India side, on 11 points from six outings, is virtually guaranteed to advance.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was exasperated after their fifth loss of the tournament.

“At the halfway point, we thought we could get there, but obviously it was more than what we [could] do. We’ve let ourselves down significantly. We’ve dropped a few chances in the field, and we could have taken our chances,” he said during a television interview afterwards.

“Still a lot of positives… The bowlers have had a reasonable campaign. They gave a big effort in each game. We’ve done a fair job, but fielding definitely has to improve,” Holder continued.

India skipper Virat Kohli was pleased with their fifth win of the campaign.

“We’ve just become number one yesterday, and to be honest we’ve been playing like that for a while now. Things haven’t gone our way with the bat for two games now, but we’ve still won and that’s impressive for me,” he said.

On a sunny day in Manchester, India, the World Cup winners in 1983, won the toss and opted to bat first in front of an almost packed venue dominated by Indian supporters.

But the West Indies began well, with pacer Kemar Roach in particular, troubling the India top-order batsmen bowling a nagging line and getting a bit of sideways movement.

He was rewarded with the wicket of Rohit Sharma (18), caught behind off the inside edge with India’s score on 29.

The long-limbed seamer Holder was also impressive, bowling Lokesh Rahul for 48.

Thereafter, the West Indies tightened the screws until India broke loose in the final 10 overs, scoring 82 runs to lift them to a competitive total.

Star batsman Kohli was once again the backbone of their batting, scoring more freely than everyone else during his classy 72 from 82 balls.

Former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struggled for timing early in his innings and rode his luck while bashing a 61-ball 56 not out. Dhoni survived a stumping chance when West Indies wicketkeeper Shai Hope could not collect the ball after left-arm finger spinner Fabian Allen tricked the batsman and left him far down the pitch.

Roach, playing only his third game of the tournament, ended with 3-36, while Holder claimed 2-33, by far his most consistent effort of the tournament so far. Left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell also got two wickets.

West Indies began their run-chase with talismanic left-hander Christopher Gayle and Sunil Ambris only just arriving in England as replacement for injured all-rounder Andre Russell.

But by the seventh over both Gayle and the stylish number three batsman Shai Hope were back in the pavilion, both dismissed by the outstanding swing bowler Mohammed Shami.

The West Indies still managed to piece together a semblance of a recovery at 71-2 in the 18th over with Ambris and the left-handed Nicholas Pooran at the crease.

As if sensing that a West Indies collapse was always just around the corner, India held their discipline, making runs hard to come by during the pair’s 55-run stand for the third wicket.

When medium pacer Hardik Pandya trapped Ambris lbw for a top score of 31 that triggered an incessant fall of wickets. Pooran followed soon after for 28.

Sharma, who accomplished a hat-trick in his previous match against Afghanistan, captured 4-16.

Famous for their penchant for muscling big hits, the West Indies’ meek fold yesterday was visible in the sixes’ column. They cleared the ropes only once yesterday — tailender Cottrell hoisting leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal into the stands before the bowler had revenge three balls later.

The West Indies next game is slated for Monday against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street while India is scheduled to meet hosts England at Edgbaston a day earlier.