Captain Kimani Melius was left to rue several missed chances after West Indies squandered a strong position, to suffer a two-wicket defeat to New Zealand and elimination from the ICC Under-19 World Cup today.
With New Zealand in pursuit of 239 at Willowmore Park, West Indies did well to reduce them to 153 for eight in the 35th over, and install themselves as favourites to win the quarter-final contest.
However, West Indies then played perhaps their worst cricket of the tournament, dropping four catches, missing a vital run out and giving up 45 runs off the last three and a half overs of the innings as New Zealand reached their target with two balls to spare.
“It is very difficult to digest at the moment but credit must be given to New Zealand, they played very well,” a dejected Melius said afterwards.
“It was just a matter of us taking our chances. If we had taken our chances we would’ve won the game. Against a good team and you don’t take your chances, they can take the game away from us and that’s what New Zealand did.”
With the young Kiwis tottering, eventual Man-of-the-Match Kristian Clarke stepped up to hit an unbeaten 46 while Joey Field supported with 38 not out, the pair combining in a record unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 86 to transform the run chase.
West Indies were guilty of two crucial misses at critical points during the partnership. First, Field was dropped on 11 in the 43rd over with New Zealand requiring 68 runs for victory and wicketkeeper Leonardo Julien then muffed a run out chance with Field short of his ground on a second run, off the final ball of the penultimate over.
Melius said the partnership had tested West Indies’ character but they had failed to remain calm when it mattered most.
“We were ahead of the game right through. It was just a matter of us remaining calm and taking our chances. We didn’t take our chances so they took the game away from us,” the opener lamented.
“Playing a quarter-final is always a hard thing. It’s just a matter of us remaining calm through pressure situations. Your character is tested and the character of our guys was tested today.”
In spite of the disappointment, Melius said West Indies, who played unbeaten throughout the preliminary round, had enjoyed brought sparks throughout the campaign.
“Nyeem (Young) gave two standout performances against England and Australia. Credit must be given to him for that and also Jayden Seales bowled very well with pace and accuracy.” (CMC)