When most people today think of West Indies they think of Twenty/20 cricket, where West Indian players are highly sought after, and they are the reigning World Twenty/20 champions, but how well will they go in the slightly longer format?
West Indies have sunk so low that they had to qualify for the World Cup, and, while they ended up qualifying fairly easily, they still lost the final to Afghanistan, albeit a somewhat pointless final, and had also lost their group match to Afghanistan, as well as their warm-up match. In fact, we can say quite clearly that right now Afghanistan are a better team than West Indies.
The stars in the Indian Premier League, Keiron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Alzarri Joseph didn’t make the cut. Chris Gayle did, for his 5th World Cup, as did in-form batsman (who was originally a fast bowler) Andre Russell, but with so many big stars missing it is hard to take them particularly seriously.
Captain Jason Holder is now the world’s leading test all-rounder, Carlos Braithwaite is mostly known for that one over that won West Indies the last World Twenty/20, and hasn’t done a whole lot since, Kemar Roach is known mostly for being fast, and that’s about it. After that we’ve got a whole lot of nothing.
West Indies are the 7th favourites for the tournament, in spite of qualifying 10th, and many people are hyping them up to do even greater than that, in light of their IPL performances. The problem is that without Pollard, Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Alzarri Joseph, they don’t have the players to do that.
It’s often controversial picking Twenty/20 players for a one day international but the state of West Indian cricket is such that they probably should have.
Just the same, Chris Gayle alone can win matches, and Andre Russell is in the kind of form that he has shown in the IPL that he can and does win matches from nowhere, and both players have a lot more to offer in the one day game, as both bowl pretty well too. The incredible captaincy of Jason Holder means that they will maximise their chances, and make the most of a pretty weak side, and there is that belief in the team, albeit somewhat fluctuating at times, that could lead them to greatness.
At least until the squad was announced some people even thought that they could go all the way, but most are still saying that they won’t make the semi finals.
Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) West Indies won’t make the semi-finals
Oh they could get pretty close, and they could even upset one of the big teams, maybe even two, but the problem is that Afghanistan well and truly has the wood over West Indies and will probably win that match, which somewhat diminishes the achievement of perhaps beating India. It could be close but I don’t see them making it.
(2) West Indies will cause an upset
I am thinking India, but it could be Australia, South Africa or England too, or two of them, or maybe even three. Well, probably not three, but two for sure. I think more likely one, where Chris Gayle and Andre Russell combine to score 150 runs in 10 overs to win them the game from nowhere, where it rains 6s before Jason Holder comes in to hold the tail together and get the final runs.
(3) They will lose to a weak team
Obviously Afghanistan is the most likely, as Afghanistan have that good recent record against West Indies, but both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also capable of beating West Indies. I’m picking Afghanistan as being the one to upset them.
(4) Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Jason Holder will be awesome
They are all in supreme form and primed for big tournaments. Such a pity about the rest of the side.
(5) There’s going to be some big losses here
This side could easily lose by 10 wickets with 20 overs to spare against a top team if things go wrong, or by 200 runs. We could see them concede 350 then get 100 runs off the first 10 overs before crumbling to 150 all out after 20 overs.
Predicted finish: 5th (4-5 result)
Best opponents: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Worst opponents: South Africa, England