West Indies white ball captain Kieron Pollard pointed to fielding as the biggest disappointment in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) which the Caribbean side lost to England by one run on Sunday.
Even as he praised lower-order batsmen Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd for putting up a fight for the hosts at Kensington Oval, he was not as impressed with the fielders.
West Indies missed Moeen Ali twice, first when he was on 6 and then again when he had 13 runs on the board. He went on to make 31.
“I guess the biggest disappointment throughout the game today would have been our fielding display. That’s the fine line between winning and losing,” Pollard said.
“We gave two chances to Moeen … and he went on to score 30-odd. These things cost us, but having said that I thought that the game finished pretty well so the confidence is high and it augurs well for the next three games in the series. So, tough luck for us tonight [Sunday]. A couple of things to work on and see if we can come back better on Wednesday,” he added.
West Indies slipped to an agonizing one-run defeat in the second of five matches in the T20I Betway Series, after winning the opening match the day before.
Asked to chase 172, they were wobbling on 65 for seven in the 12th over before Shepherd and Hosein slammed 44 not out apiece in a record 72-run, ninth-wicket stand, but the hosts fell just short of their target.
The two players also came in for praise from vice-captain Nicholas Pooran.
“Akeal and Shepherd have been working really hard on their batting,” Pooran said after the match. “We know in our team we have a long list of hitters. Tonight we saw something special from Akeal and Shepherd. Kudos goes to them. They didn’t give up at all, but that goes to show the strength in our team.”
Pooran said Hosein, in particular, continued to demonstrate he was more than just a bowler. He took just 16 balls to reach his unbeaten 44.
“Tonight – well not only tonight but in the Ireland series – he proved he is a capable batsman and he struck the ball as good as anyone. We always give him some thunder that he’s batting No. 11 for us and he keeps proving to us that he’s a batsman,” he said.
“I’m happy for him; he’s working really hard, not only as a bowler but as a batsman as well.”
Asked whether he felt the earlier batsmen could have done anything differently that might have changed the outcaome of the game, the vice-captain said the fall of the openers – Brandon King falling lbw for a first-ball ‘duck’ off the second ball of the innings and Shai Hope’s runout for 2 – may have hurt their chances.
“I felt like Kingy had a tough decision there, but we have to accept those things. With the runout with Hopey there, a bit unfortunate – a wrong decision maybe at that time. I think that set us back in the powerplay as well,” he said.
Speaking after the match, Hosein said the support from Shepherd and the fans kept him pressing on.
Hosein arrived in the 16th over of the match, with West Indies faced with a required run rate of nearly 15 runs per over and seemingly out of contention.
The slim left-hander showed his power with three fours and four sixes in a 16-ball stunner. With 30 runs needed from the last over, Hosein unfurled an exhibition of top-class hitting, lashing two fours and three sixes – the latter coming from the last three deliveries in a tense over sent down by pacer Saqib Mahmood.
“I decided I just had to go for it, and I backed myself. Shepherd was at the other end fully supporting me and that helped a lot. I looked at all my options and targeted the areas I wanted to hit, and I got them out of the middle. It was a big target at the end, but we gave it all we had,” he said.
“The crowd was just amazing … cheering on everything no matter which team, and they really supported us. It just felt great to be playing in front fans again, but I was also concentrating really hard on the job. The series is really well set-up now and we’re going to plan and prepare well for Wednesday’s match.” (CMC)