Gayle, Pollard power West Indies to 330/8

West Indies set Netherlands a stiff target of 331 for victory

By Suneer Chowdhary

 

Delhi: Feb 28, 2011

 

Before going into this game, there was a general consensus that given the manner that the two teams had played in their respective opening games, there was enough cause for a first upset in this World Cup. However, the first half of the West Indies-Netherlands game at the Feroz Shah Kotla gave anything but that indication.

 

West Indies had capitulated to 222 against South Africa. While the Dutch bowling can barely hold a candle to the South Africa attack but the West Indian batting must be credited for the manner in which the innings was built. Each of the top five batsmen played its part in West Indies raking up 330/8 off its allotted 50 overs. And of course, the Netherlands think-tank, bowling and their fielding were perfect sidekicks in the act.

 

It started with Netherlands winning the toss and deciding to field first on a track which seemingly had nothing in it for the bowling side. It was a strange decision but one that in all fairness would have been taken by the West Indian captain as well had he won the toss.

 

As it turned out, Devon Smith – and not Chris Gayle – took full toll of the first Powerplay with some aggressive batting. It started three boundaries off the first four balls of the game by Smith and despite slowing down a tad, the side were 63/0 at the end of the tenth over. Smith had outscored Gayle by 39 to 19.

 

Gayle, whose batting seemed to have been based on Virender Sehwag’s recent call to bat through 50 overs, gradually got going from the start of the Bowling Powerplay. Smith got to his 50 and West Indies to their 100, before he got out. That, however, was hardly the end of the Dutch problems.

 

Darren Bravo joined Gayle and the pair added another 68 (89) balls before Bravo lofted Pieter Seelar straight to the long-on fielder. Gayle joined him in the pavilion soon after but not before he had made 80 and ensured that the side had the perfect foundation to get to a big score. West Indies were 196/3 at the start of the Batting Powerplay but with the collapse of the South Africa game at the back of their minds, they would have had something to chew about.

 

However, West Indies seemed to have corrected their mistake from the previous occasion when they got in Kieron Pollard early enough – as opposed to the number eight position he batted last game. After only three had come from the first over of the Powerplay that he faced, there were overs of 10,20, 10 and 13 runs that followed and provided the impetus necessary to get the West Indies towards the safer, 300-run mark.

 

At the other end, West Indies kept losing wickets at a fairly regular interval but Pollard invariably provided a hit towards the fence. Pollard’s half-century, his second in this format came off 23 deliveries making it the third quickest and by the time he was the seventh out for 60, West Indies had got to 312/7 in the 48th over.

 

Earlier, West Indies were forced to make a change to their line-up after Dwayne Bravo was deemed to play no further part in the tournament. Left-arm spin bowler Nikita Miller came in his place into the side.

 

Brief Scores: West Indies 330 for 8 in 50 overs (Chris Gayle 80, Kieron Pollard 60; Pieter Seelar 3 for 45, Mudassar Bukhari 2 for 65) vs Netherlands.

 

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)

 

 

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