Sloppy fielding and careless batting, along with their opponents sense of purpose epitomised by all-rounder Sikandar Raza combined to send West Indies crashing to a 35-run defeat against hosts Zimbabwe in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier on Saturday.
Chasing 269 to win, the Caribbean side lost their way after a 64-run, third wicket stand between Kyle Mayers, whose 56 was the top score, and his captain Shai Hope, and they were bowled out in 44.4 overs in the Group A match.
Roston Chase made 44, Nicholas Pooran made a typically dashing 34, Hope got 30, and opener Brandon King added 20, but Tendai Chatara was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with three for 52 from 9.4 overs, and fellow pacers Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani, as well as Raza, bowling his off-spin, took two wickets apiece to undermine the batting of the visitors.
“To be honest, too much is on my mind right now, I don’t know if I can explain it,” Hope said during the post-play TV interview. “Certaingly, a lot of hurt and disappointment, but the tournament is not over as yet.
“The aim is to play our best cricket, regardless of who we are playing against. We did not do that. We let ourselves down in the field and that pretty much cost us.”
He added: “We still need to take the positives out of it. If we were asked to chase 260-odd before the game, we definitely would have taken it as a batting group.
“We let ourselves down in a lot of areas, and we still have a lot of work to do, and the tournament is not over as yet.”
West Indies ended the first Power Play on 55 for two after opener Brandon King and Johnson Charles were defeated by unpredictable bounce from the pitch and were caught at slip and square leg respectively.
Hope came to the crease and with Mayers got the visitors moving in the right direction with typically sound batting, the pair scoring at close to six runs an over.
Mayers was caught at long-off in the 21st off pacer Wellington Masakadza trying to add to the eight fours and one six he struck from 72 balls, and Raza bowled Hope in the 24th over with a delivery that kept a bit low.
The Caribbean reached 139 for four at the halfway stage with Chase, former captains Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder, as well as vice-captain Rovman Powell all due, still potentially enough batting for them to make a successful chase, but they could not find the right formula.
Pooran was lbw to Nagarava in the 32nd over swinging across the line, and Powell was lbw to Muzarabani for one in the 33rd over playing across, and West Indies needed 89 from 103 balls.
Holder got 19 and carried West Indies past 200 in the company of Chase before he dabbed at a delivery from Chatara and was caught behind in the 41st over with 52 needed from 59 balls.
The wickets of Keemo Paul lbw to Raza for one trying to reverse sweep, and Chase bowled chopping on a delivery from Chatara in the span of seven balls practically ended the resistance from the Caribbean side.
The final wicket of Alzarri Joseph, fittingly caught at mid-wicket by Player-of-the-Match Raza off Chatara for three, formalised the result when 32 balls remaining.
The result meant that Zimbabwe climbed back to the top of the standings with six points, and West Indies fall to third behind the Netherlands against whom they play their final group match on Tuesday at the Takashinga Cricket Club.
“There will be challenges, both on and off the field, especially trying to get the guys motivated to understand what we need to do and what is required to get us through to the next stage and into the final,” he said. (CMC)