Stakes high in West Indies-Netherlands clash

West Indies’ Kieron Pollard (right) and Darren Bravo share a light moment during a training session at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi, on February 27. West Indies play the the Netherlands in match 12 of the Cricket World Cup on Monday.

By Abhaya Srivastava

New Delhi: Feb 28, 2011

Injury-ravaged West Indies will have plenty to play for when they take on an inspired Netherlands in a crucial World Cup league match on Monday.

Reeling under a seven-wicket defeat to South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Thursday, West Indies were dealt another blow when key all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Up against Netherlands next, the former world champions must overcome the twin setbacks if they are to put back their campaign on track.

“Bravo was in good form and getting injured in such a way, it’s really sad,” said West Indies coach Ottis Gibson. “We can’t do much with these injury situations. We have got to move on. We are still a big team. We have got history behind us. We still believe we have got much left in us and we are ready to prove that on this big stage.”

Bravo’s injury could not have come at a worse time for a team which is already showing signs of disintegrating barely a few days into the tournament.

West Indies were largely expected to lose to the stronger South Africa but it was the manner of their defeat that rankled their fans the most.

They looked easily capable of putting up a total closer to 300 after promising knocks by Darren Bravo, Devon Smith and Dwayne Bravo but threw it away all, thanks to some reckless shots.

“We had guys getting starts and none of us carried on,” said captain Darren Sammy. “That’s where we lost out. At 41 overs, we were 201 and our all-rounders were still there.

“We had (Kieron) Pollard, (Dwayne) Bravo and myself, we could have got to 270. We created opportunities but we didn’t capitalise on them.”

The West Indies can hardly afford another slip-up when they take on the Dutch in the day-night match at the same venue which appears to have passed its sternest test by playing true till the end during Thursday’s game.

The ground is coming off a 12-month suspension after a one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned in December 2009 due to a dangerous playing surface.

The Netherlands proved their grit despite having just four professionals in the squad when they gave England a mighty scare in Nagpur. Led by an attacking 110-ball 119 from Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, the Irish racked up 292-6 before England scraped to victory with just eight balls to spare.

“The England game was a good experience,” said ten Doeschate. “The whole game was quite enjoyable. It will be difficult to replicate the batting but if we manage to do that we would probably look at ourselves as a better team. We know that we have to perform better with the ball as well.”

Gibson said his side will not make the mistake of taking the Netherlands lightly. I would not like to call the associate nations minnows,” he said. “One should call them lesser known teams. I expect those guys to come hard on us. They were beaten by England but showed lot of promise against them. They were full of energy.”