Cricket World Cup 2019 – Heartbreaking to get so close but not get over the line: Carlo Brathwaite
Carlos Brathwaite (AFP Photo)

Carlos Brathwaite on Saturday said he will take confidence from his valiant 101 that took West Indies close to victory only to lose the World Cup thriller by five runs against New Zealand. Brathwaite set up an exciting game with his 82-ball blitz after West Indies slipped to 245 for nine in their chase of 292 at Manchester’s Old Trafford.

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He smashed five sixes and nine fours for his maiden ODI ton, but fell to paceman Jimmy Neesham in trying to get the winning hit in the penultimate over as Trent Boult took a good catch just inside the long-on boundary.

“Obviously bitter sweet. For me personally, for my confidence,” Brathwaite told reporters in the mixed zone. “As a result of all the hard work I’ve been putting in it’s finally good that it comes to fruition. Obviously devastated not to get over the line, but also giving thanks for the performance. Even getting the team into the position we got into before I got out,” said Brathwaite, who also took two wickets with his pace bowling.

Opener Chris Gayle hit 87 and Shimron Hetmyer made 54 before West Indies slipped to 164 for seven against New Zealand’s bowling led by Boult. But Brathwaite, famous for his four sixes in the final over of England’s Ben Stokes in the 2016 World Twenty20 title win in Kolkata, kept his team’s hopes alive while batting with the lower order.

Brathwaite dominated the last-wicket stand of 41 with Oshane Thomas, who remained unbeaten on nought, to give the Kiwis a real scare. “Give credit to the lower order. Everyone believed we could get over the line,” said Brathwaite. “Obviously heartbreaking to get so close but not get over the line (but) there were some positives. The fight that the lower order showed was commendable.”

The 30-year-old Brathwaite sank to his knees in despair after getting out as he was consoled by the New Zealand unit led by Kane Williamson, who set up victory for the Black Caps side with his successive World Cup ton. “The New Zealanders are some of the best people in the world,” said Brathwaite. “Fortunate to have shared a dressing room or play against and socialise with them in franchise tournaments. Good friends with a few of them. Good sportsmanship on their behalf. I appreciated the mutual respect the opposition had,” he said with a smile.

West Indies, champions in the first two editions of the World Cup 1975 and 1979, have just one win from six games and now only have a mathematical chance of making it to the semi-finals.

The Jason Holder-led side will next meet India in Manchester on Thursday.