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Double disappointment for Windies at T20 World CupAre there any positives?

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Tue April 8, 2014

After the double disappointment of losing both men’s and women’s semi-finals in the 2014 ICC T20 World Cup, incidentally a fate shared by South Africa, there is a general post mortem among Caribbean cricket fans on the performance of our teams, particularly the men.{{more}} It is easy to point the fingers and play the blame game because Caribbean cricket fans were harbouring expectations, but at least some effort must be made to see what positives, if any, have emerged and what do these portend for the future of Caribbean cricket.

WOMEN : VERY ENCOURAGING FOR FUTURE

The pain of losing in the semi-finals must be tempered by two facts. First we lost, narrowly, to the eventual champion team, Australia, and put on a better showing than the eventual other finalist, England. Secondly, not only did our female cricketers rise to the challenge of the World Cup, but their performances augur well for the future.

An examination of the composition of the team would reveal that more than half of the 15 are below the age of 23, including the world’s top female cricketer, Stefanie Taylor. Three of them are teenagers, among them the highly rated leg-spinner, Shaquana Quintyne. This sets a solid platform for going forward in the future and, given the appropriate support our women’s team, may well become the pride of the region.

If there is an area of weakness, it lies in the fact that the batting is too reliant on Taylor and the destructive hitting of Deandra Dottin, another 22-year-old. Both scored well over 100 runs, with strike rates of more than 100 and were the only two batters to score fifties. The bowling was balanced and varied, with Tremayne Smart, the highest wicket-taker, spinners Anisa Mohammed and Shanel Daley effective, while both Quintyne and Dottin bowled tightly.

The pair of Taylor and Dottin were both selected on the ICC ‘Team of the Tournament’.

We can all be proud of our women.

MEN: UNFORTUNATE BUT CREDITABLE SHOWING

After holding high hopes for a repeat championship, our men, like their female counterparts, succumbed to new champions Sri Lanka, and the weather, plus the infamous Duckworth-Lewis, at the semi-final stage. It was a bitter pill to swallow since, though behind in the scoring rate when the rains came, all hopes were on skipper Darren Sammy to repeat the heroics that he had been churning out match after match.

The defeat reflected the over-dependence on Sammy and Dwayne Bravo to power the Caribbean team over the line. Sammy was a stand-out success. Playing primarily as a batsman, he was only once dismissed and had the tournament’s highest scoring rate, a phenomenal 224.44. Bravo had the third-highest scoring rate, behind Australia’s power-hitter Maxwell and Gayle, though not the force of two to three years ago, and Dwayne Smith, gave useful starts.

The bowling was outstanding. No one mastered Narine’s wiles, all batsmen choosing to play it safe against him. As a result, he was the tournament’s most economic bowler. Samuel Badree’s leggies, opening the bowling, caused all sorts of problems and he was the Caribbean’s top wicket-taker with 11 wickets. Santokie justified his being placed ahead of the experienced Rampaul and must be pleased with his outing on the world stage.

Sammy and Badree were both named on the ICC’s Men’s ‘Team of the Tournament’ while Narine joined them in being named in a BBC panel’s ‘Team of the Tournament’.

Going forward though, the Windies must begin looking to the future. The team was one of the older ones in the tournament, with six of 15 players being over 30. Of special concern must be the need for young batsmen to come to the fore and the lack of real pace. With a heavy schedule for the rest of the year, these concerns and that of the age-old problem of placing our cricket on a sustainable basis must be addressed.

Contributed.

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