Windies confident ahead of World Cup opener on Friday

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File: Jason Holder celebrates a wicket (Getty Images)

After stunning New Zealand in their final warm-up encounter, Jason Holder and his West Indies team are a confident group heading into their opening game of the World Cup, on Friday May 31, against Pakistan. Sharing his sentiments during a media conference post the warm-up victory, Holder was a happy captain, to see his team score 421 runs and successfully defended.

“That performance should give the entire group a lot of confidence, I thought we batted really well and we kept the momentum going through the innings,” Holder said. “Credit to the way Shai played, I thought Chris was outstanding at the beginning, getting us off to a good start, and Evin batted beautifully as well…and then Russell played a really good knock as well.

The West Indies captain, Holder added: “We had the foundation up front, I think we hit every target that we set to hit and the beautiful thing is that we had set batters in most of the time and wickets in hand to launch at the end. We have put so many smiles on people’s faces back home in the Caribbean and for me, I just want to continue to do that. I think we’re at our best when we play with freedom and a smile.”

Holder was also pleased with the bowling performance. Carlos Brathwaite was the leading wicket-taker with three wickets, while left-arm spinner Fabien Allen also bowled well to take two wickets in the middle overs – both coming via stumpings. “I thought the bowlers were outstanding as well. To defend on such a good wicket and a small field it can be difficult and we went both sides of the park last time against South Africa. It was good to see the bowlers come back and show a lot more discipline.

The plans worked well against the New Zealanders and we want to carry this sort of performance and this level of focus into the tournament,” Holder said. West Indies will travel to Nottingham for their first World Cup match against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Friday May 31. First ball will be 5:30am local time.

West Indies World Cup squad reads: Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.

West Indies Match Schedule (First ball for all matches is 5:30am local time)

May 31: vs Pakistan – Nottingham

June 6: vs Australia – Nottingham

June 10: vs South Africa – Southampton

June 14: vs England – Southampton

June 17: vs Bangladesh – Taunton

June 22: vs New Zealand – Manchester (8:30am EC Time/7:30am Jamaica)

June 27: vs India – Manchester

July 1: vs Sri Lanka – Chester-le-Street

July 4: vs Afghanistan – Leeds

Semi-Finals

July 9: 1st vs 4th – Manchester

July 11: 2nd vs 3rd – Birmingham

The Final

July 14: Semi-final Winner 1 vs Semi-final Winner 2 – Lord’s

July 15: Reserve Day