West Indies appeared the weakest team in Group B among the test playing nations when the World Cup started. Even Bangladesh was considered to have more chances of reaching Quarterfinal from their group, leaving the Carribean team behind. They started poorly, but since then have started gaining momentum and look dangerous after completing 4 group matches.
West Indies were thrashed by the title contenders South Africans in their first match of World Cup 2011. To add salt to their wound, their best allrounder Dwayn Bravo had to return home after injuring himself while saving a single during follow through. It was a major shock to their chances, when already the odds were placed against them.
The critics comments and poor expectation from their teams, probably ignited the fire. Probably the senior ex-captain and current opener Gayle motivated them by telling lets join hand for the common cause and gain respect. Whatever be the reason since their first defeat they have played as a spirited team.
They thrashed Bangladesh so badly and left the home fans so disappointed, that they took to violence after the match. The Dutch were no match to the brilliance of Gayle and Pollard. The big question came before the match against Ireland.
Before the match against Ireland, West Indies had 2 convincing wins and 1 disappointing loss. After Ireland, they knew that the strong English and Indian team is waiting. Before those remaining two matches, they should defeat Ireland and get closest to the safety zone by earning 6 points. Ireland on the other hand also smelt opportunity against West Indies. Not for nothing was their match (4th match of the group for both) against Ireland was dubbed as pre-quarterfinal match.
West Indies knew that Ireland can attack while bowling and batting both. Yet, they knew that their team is capable of thwarting the Irish challenge. Already weakened by Dwayn Bravo’s ouster, against Ireland they received another shocker when mercurial Chris Gayle was declared unfit to play. That left another opener Davin Smith to perform in the very crucial match.
Smith did not disappoint. His patient and cautious century prepared the foundation of a good total. But Chanderpaul and Sarwan’s failure, and Darren Bravo’s inability to play another good opening in the current World CUp, left the unpredicatble Pollard with a herculean task of taking his team to a safe total. Pollard accepted the challenge in the only way he knonws, although the approach was more careful than reckless.
Posing a respectable total, although not safe one, bowlers were required to perform. The Irish top order were upto the challenge. But captain Sammy and Benn, fresh from their exploits against Bangladesh, showed why West Indies should be considered dangerous now.
Although they are the closest to the safe zone, after India, in their group with 6 points in 4 matches, they may need another victory to reach the quarterfinal without any dependency on other teams. Their next two matches are against the title contender India and the most promising and colorful team of the World Cup, England. They will expect to upset at least one of them to secure QF berth.