Published on: Sep 05, 2023
Having got off their campaign to a brilliant start after decimating Pakistan in their first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, West Indies stuttered badly and were in dire need of a win when they came across New Zealand in the 29th match of the competition, played at the Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.
New Zealand, on the other hand, were moving along brilliantly, without having lost a single match in their World Cup campaign till then. The only match in which they did not earn a full two points was their abandoned game against India which had to be cancelled due to incessant rain.
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Batting first, New Zealand got off to the worst possible start, losing both their openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro for golden ducks in the first over itself – both accounted for by Sheldon Cottrell.
Captain Kane Williamson, however, came to the rescue, as he often does for the Kiwis and slammed a brilliant 148 off 154 balls in a knock laced with 14 boundaries.
On a pitch which did not make run scoring easy, New Zealand would have been fairly confident at the mid-innings mark, having made 291/8 from their allotted 50 overs.
Especially with Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult in their bowling attack and all-rounders James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme in assisting roles, West Indies would have to play out of their skin to achieve the target.
Playing his last ODI World Cup, Chris Gayle went into beast mode and was batting at a strike rate of over run a ball with 8 fours and 6 sixes when Trent Boult got the better of him. The explosive batter made 87 off 84 deliveries.
Shimron Hetmyer did contribute with a fiery 54 off just 45 balls but that was largely against the run of play as West Indies kept losing wickets. Once Hetmyer had his woodwork rearranged by Lockie Ferguson, West Indies found themselves in a real spot of bother.
West Indian all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite will be largely remembered for the “remember the name!” moment when he carted Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup to guide his side to the trophy. Brathwaite was effective with the ball in that match as well, picking up the key wickets of Jos Buttler and Joe Root to finish with figures of 4-0-23-3.
However, the muscle man didn’t have much to show for after that landmark moment. Not many would have thought that this was going to be the day when the all-rounder would come so close to another “remember the name” moment.
Seeing, and perhaps knowing no other way, Brathwaite started to tee off at one point and kept going. Once he sensed that West Indies were actually still in the game, he became a bit more calculated with his big shots, but was still as effective.
With six runs needed and seven balls still to go, whether Brathwaite decided to go with the flow, or went for the glory shot – no one would know – but in an attempt to clear the boundary off Jimmy Neesham, Boult plucked a blinder right at the ropes as West Indies were all out and fell short by 5 runs. Alas, the last over still remained unused.
Brathwaite was dismissed on 101 off 82 deliveries and almost had to be lifted off the field as his legs turned too heavy in disappointment of what could have been, but didn’t.