DENIED: West Indies World Cup campaign is all but over
AT 9.40pm the West Indies abject World Cup 2019 campaign came to an end (June 22).
To their credit they went down fighting as they lost by five runs to in-form New Zealand at Old Trafford.
But it wasn’t just this dusk defeat to the Kiwis that saw Windies fail to make the semi-finals. Defeats to Bangladesh, Austraila, England and a rained off tie against Pakistan has left the Caribbean outfit with just three points and very little else.
They will look back and feel they should have got over the line against both today’s opponents and Australia.
Carlos Brathwaite was the last man out for the Windies having hit 101 with six balls remaining. He celebrated quite rightly – but the job was not done.
Brathwaite was caught in the deep by Trent Boult and the campaign was over for the Windies team and their long suffering supporters.
Sir Curtly Ambrose, animated throughout his many visits to the press box, got it right when clearly vexed, he pointed to his head numerous times to suggest that the men in maroon were not using theirs. He was correct.
With the game going comfortably in their favour, Shimron Hetmyer slogged across the line agriculturally and was bowled for 54 to make the score 187 – 3 in pursuit of 292 for a crucial victory.
It was the turning point of the match despite another big-hitting display by Chris Gayle who made 87. And all this after the Jamaican was dropped three times before his eventual departure.
As the man known as the ‘Universe Boss’ left the field he held his bat aloft and acknowledged the crowd to indicate that this was surely his final World Cup effort.
What a pity that the West Indies could not get the job done as they clawed defat from the jaws of victory.
The morning got off to a positive start when Windies captain Jason Holder won the toss and inserted the Kiwis.
A creditable performer for the men in maroon all tournament has been Sheldon Cottrell, 29, who got New Zealand opener Martin Guptill lbw first ball after a review.
The Windies inconsistencies were then summed up next ball.
Big Brathwaite chased a classic off drive by Kane Williamson, dived for the ball as it approached the boundary, only to dive full length and miss the ball much to the delight of the crowd.
This was going to be classic.
That much was proved when that man Cottrell made a mess of Colin Munro’s stumps in only the game’s fifth ball. Cottrell now had nine World Cup wickets with the rich promise of more as Williamson played and missed outside his off stump.
With both Kiwi openers out to the first ball they faced, World Cup history was created.
In the end Cottrell ended with figures of 4/56. He fielded like a demon too.
During their mini crisis, the Kiwis could not have wanted two more assured players at the crease; Williamson and Ross Taylor.
Williamson hit an authoritative 148 while Taylor chipped in with 69. The partnership provided the runs that the Windies, in the end, just could not match.
Cottrell, Gayle and Brathwaite all deserved better but the inquest into their team’s woeful campaign starts now.
They face India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in their final matches but the game is up for Holder’s men.