A final tally of two wins in nine games doesn’t do justice to the potential they carried, with the tournament ending up being a string of missed opportunities for Jason Holder and team. As assistant coach Roddy Estwick stated before their final game, it was the inability to seize ‘big moments’ that cost them a berth in the semi-finals.
West Indies came agonisingly close on several occasions; against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, they were in dominant positions. Yet, they invariably failed to put on the final touches. Even a consolation win in their last game against Afghanistan couldn’t relieve them of a ninth-place finish.
Positives to take home
West Indies’ ‘never-say-die’ spirit almost carried them to improbable wins; Carlos Brathwaite and Nicholas Pooran pulled off near-stunners with the bat, a trait that has become the essence of their operating model in limited-overs cricket.
They might have shone only in parts, but West Indies’ young brigade (Pooran, Hope and Hetmyer) could well become batting pillars in the future. Their fast bowling, albeit a tad inconsistent, is a promising mix; Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas, unconventional as they are, did their bit with the ball.
Areas to improve
West Indies showed flashes of brilliance, but failed to sustain them. More than once, they let the game slip from a position of control, either with their loose bowling or with a muddled batting approach.
Despite an array of power-hitters, West Indies’ T20 mindset did not translate well across 50 overs, as the batsmen were guilty of throwing their wickets at crucial junctures, most notably in their chases against Australia and New Zealand.
In the bowling department, their largely one-dimensional approach couldn’t take them the distance. The pacers’ plan to bounce out of the opposition worked only in parts, and a wafer-thin spin attack could do little to correct it.
Nicholas Pooran has been on the fringes ever since his U-19 days. The World Cup gave him a stage to showcase his talent, and Pooran left a mark. West Indies’ highest run-getter in the tournament, Pooran averaged over 52, and almost single-handedly took his team through to an improbable win against Sri Lanka with a splendid century. Apart from the ton, his vital contributions against England and Afghanistan highlighted his increased maturity as a middle-order batsman.
31 May: v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, Nottingham - West Indies won by seven wickets
06 June: v Australia, Trent Bridge, Nottingham - Australia won by 15 runs
10 June: v South Africa, The Rose Bowl, Southampton - No result
14 June: v England, The Rose Bowl, Southampton - England won by 8 wickets
17 June: v Bangladesh, County Ground, Taunton - Bangladesh won by 7 wickets
22 June: v New Zealand, Old Trafford, Manchester - New Zealand won by 5 runs
27 June: v India, Old Trafford, Manchester - India won by 125 runs
01 July: v Sri Lanka, Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street - Sri Lanka won by 23 runs
04 July: v Afghanistan, Headingley, Leeds - West Indies won by 23 runs