The Windies started their World Cup 2019 campaign in a dominant manner. The Jason Holder-led team recorded a clinical 7-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second game of the tournament at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The West Indies bowlers displayed sensational collective efforts to rattle the Pakistani batsmen for a paltry first innings total, after which Chris Gayle smashed a blazing fifty to steer his team to a splendid win.
We just want to be aggressive
It was only a match ago, a warm-up alright, West Indies had presented enough evidence of what their muscled and beefed batting order can do. And the venue of their opening encounter, Trent Bridge - one of the highest-scoring venues in the world cup country - was as perfect a venue as they would have liked to exhibit their skills, or fulfill what Shai Hope had said only a day ago - 'expect 500 from us'.
While they can score all the runs one-day cricket can imagine, the apprehension was always to be about how they were going to defend it. Jason Holder's answer was simple: attack and take wickets.
"Our style was just to be aggressive," Holder, the West Indies skipper, revealed after their easy win. "We just want to be aggressive with whoever we're playing against. It's just something that we need to do in order to pick up wickets. I think with the modern-day game, if you are not picking wickets up throughout the innings you're going to struggle to contain teams. So we just want to be aggressive even if we give up a few runs up front, trying to get wickets."
In having to stick with the plan, they opted for the pace of Oshane Thomas in the playing XI ahead of the experience of Kemar Roach. Holder explained that even though Thomas tends to be expensive and even overstep at critical times, like evidenced twice in Pakistan's innings, his ability to take wickets is what fits best with West Indies' plan. On Friday, it worked to perfection as the pacer bagged four wickets in less than six overs, to be named the Player of the Match in his debut World Cup game.
"He's been excellent," Holder said, heaping praise on Thomas. "In the last game he got five wickets and then he comes and follows it up with four wickets here today. It was great to see him running in and bowling fast. That's the one thing we ask of him, just to be aggressive in those middle overs, as I said before. He's working out quite nicely for us."
The skipper, however, added a word of caution for the young pacer, and said, "It's just a matter for us to be consistent with it, and at times not get carried away with it in terms of overdoing it."