Led by Shakib Al Hasan’s second century of the tournament, Bangladesh chased down West Indies’ total of 321, on Monday, with seven wickets in hand and 8.3 overs to spare, making it the joint second highest successful run-chase in a world cup game and the highest against West Indies in the tournament history. Yet, West Indies skipper Jason Holder believes it was the batting that let the team down on the day, with the batsmen falling 40 to 50 runs short of what should have been the total they should’ve piled on in Taunton.
“I felt that at the halfway we were still a few short,” Holder said after the loss. “Probably, I reckon, a par score on this wicket, with the dimensions of the ground, probably 360, 365, maybe 370. And we were well short of that… If you look at the context of the game and the way Bangladesh scored in comparison to what we did, I think we probably, arguably roughly 40, 50 short.”
Put in to bat, West Indies openers struggled early with some movement and assistance on offer for Bangladesh’s new-ball pair. Chris Gayle departed for a 13-ball duck before West Indies could work themselves out of a tricky position. Evin Lewis gave the charge and stroked a 67-ball 70 while Shai Hope held the fort long for his 121-ball 96. The latter looked scratchy for most parts of his innings and failed to up the scoring rate even when West Indies’ innings looked settled around the half-way mark. He eventually fell in the 47th over.
Explaining the idea behind their batting, Holder said, “We knew up front in the first ten overs we had to really knuckle down and get through that period. That probably was the toughest period of the innings. But I think we should have been able to rotate the strike a little better and find the boundary a little bit with a little more freedom.
“It was good that he (Hope) went deep but probably we could have asked him to show a little bit more intent. Having said that we still were losing wickets at crucial ends of the stages. We needed one of the top four players to go through. He got down to the end, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough today.”
The other key factor that resulted in Bangladesh’s canter towards the massive score was the inability of the West Indian pacers to take wickets with the new ball. Having assembled a six-man pace battery for the previous game against England, which didn’t prove to be of much help due to a low-score to defend, West Indies stuck to the same philosophy against Bangladesh – minus Carlos Brathwaite, who was dropped to accommodate an extra batsman (Darren Bravo). It failed again. With the wicket holding up a bit when the Bangladesh spinners were in operation and several left-handers in Bangladesh’s top order, it seemed a questionable decision to not play Ashley Nurse.
However, Holder said there was more issue with the execution by the pacers than the plan to play them. “The quick bowlers could have done their job,” he said. “If you look at their spinners, they didn’t cause much of a threat. Shakib is the only one, I think, who got wickets. Mehedi struggled. We pretty much scored off him freely. So, no regrets there.
“With 321 on the board, we still go out there, fight and make a game of it. We needed new ball wickets. We didn’t get it today. They batted well. Shakib came in really well. And Liton Das played really well. Gotta give them credit.
“In hindsight, you could sit here and ponder on a few things. I think the balance was not an issue today. As I said, we didn’t execute. Execution for me today was the issue. And it paid off, hurt us in the end.”
The issue he highlights again is the inability of the batsmen to pile on the big scores which has proved costly for them in this world cup. He expects them to fire in the upcoming matches as West Indies look to keep their hopes alive of making it to the semifinals.
“It’s looking tough (to make it to the top four) at this present moment, but it’s not impossible. We have to play every game here now as a final. We’ve got to win every game left to give ourselves a really good chance. I’d go on obviously a little bit down to other teams or rely on other teams to help our result. But we’ve just got to control what we can and that’s playing each game as a final.
“They’re (India) a good team. But if we want to get through into the semifinals, we’ve got to play good cricket. We’ve got to beat the best. India obviously is going to be a tough game. We’ve got New Zealand as well.
“We’ve got to back ourselves and be a lot more clinical with the ball, and still go a lot further with the bat. As I said before, I think we’re still a few runs short when we bat. I don’t think we’ve got a batsman with a century yet. These are things that we need to correct.”