DUBLIN, Ireland – Following contrasting results in their opening two games of the Tri-Nations Series, West Indies will go in search of an improved performance when they face Ireland again Saturday, hoping to secure a berth in the final of the tournament.
The Caribbean side crushed the Irish in their opener last Sunday by 196 runs in a game which featured a world-record opening stand between Shai Hope and John Campbell.
However, they were brought back down to earth a few days later when they were easily brushed aside by Bangladesh in an eight-wicket loss defeat marked by mediocre outfielding and the inability to post a really competitive total after an excellent start to their innings.
Captain Jason Holder said it was now crucial West Indies upped their game and rectified the mistakes they had made during that loss.
“I thought we batted really well in the first game and in the second game it was probably a little bit tougher in terms of the pace of the wicket and trying to get runs flowing,” Holder said ahead of the contest at The Village in Malahide.
“I think we’ve had a few discussions over the last couple days just how we can improve if we find ourselves back in that situation. It’s just a matter for us to try to get 300-plus runs on the board each time we go out there and we bat.
“I think we were just a little bit off the boil in the last game and in this game, we are just looking to do a few more things better and get up to that 300-run mark that we’re looking for.”
West Indies dominated their first meeting with Ireland entirely. Their 381 for three was their second highest in ODIs and the margin of victory was the their fourth largest in ODIs and largest in five years.
Their bowling was also incisive, especially up front when they reduced the hosts to 21 for three in the fifth over. Following middle order resistance, they took the last seven Irish wickets for just 33 runs.
They will be keeping anxious watch on the weather, however, especially after heavy rain forced the abandonment of Thursday’s match between Ireland and Bangladesh at the venue.
“It should be a really good game again, hopefully the weather stays away,” Holder said.
“We had a really good game against Ireland in the first round and basically it’s getting deeper into the competition now and we want to win this game and then secure a spot into the finals.
“We obviously just need to bat well and bowl well and hopefully we can get the result we’re looking for.”
The series will be the final one before West Indies head into the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England, where they open their campaign against Pakistan on May 31.
And Holder said one of the aims of the ongoing series would be for players to improve themselves ahead of the showpiece.
“I’m happy with how things are going so far. I think the guys have been working really hard. They’ve been very, very disciplined,” the world-rated all-rounder pointed out.
“We were probably not at our best in the last game but we had tons of discussions over the last few days on how we can get better and how we can improve, which is what you want in a young group like this one.
“So I’m very, very positive that we can bounce back against Ireland and when we play Bangladesh the second time around, we will put up a much better performance.”
Holder praised the impact which Hope and Campbell had on the Irish and on the first ODI.
“Both of them have played well, Shai especially, he’s probably been our most consistent player over the last two years. It’s been really good to see him backing up performance the way he has done,” Holder said.
“I just saw a stat coming up that he is the quickest West Indian to 2000 runs, which is a really phenomenal feat. I saw the list of guys on the TV and it’s really good for him to be in that company.
“If he continues he could be one of our best ODI players to ever play. Performances like that from young players is something we definitely looking for,” Holder said. (CMC)
The match starts at 5.45 a.m.
TEAMS: IRELAND – William Porterfield (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Josh Little,
Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy,
James McCollum, Tim Murtagh,
Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Lorcan Tucker,
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Darren Bravo, John Campbell,
Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase,
Sheldon Cottrell, Shane Dowrich,
Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope,
Ashley Nurse, Raymon Reifer,