At MacLean Park on Sunday, the mood in West Indies dressing room was glum. It was understandable because even if UAE were not expected to cause a big problem, Jason Holder’s team needed a victory to remain in quarterfinal contention. Anything short of that would have knocked them out of the World Cup. The weather wasn’t all that friendly and a Rain-caused cancellation would have been a West Indian wash-out more than the normal wash out of play. But the West Indies embraced the challenge and after winning the toss, Holder asked UAE to bat first. The West Indian bowlers did well to wreck UAE’s top order and six wickets fell by the 14th over as the score read a paltry 46/6. However, a 107-run stand for the seventh wicket came as a needless frustration before UAE could be bowled out for 175 in over no.48. West Indies had a 176 run target for victory but they needed to reach that score within 36.2 overs to keep the Net-Run-Rate favorable, should that factor became important for a QF berth. Therefore, West Indies began their chase purposefully and reached 176/4 in 30.3 overs to win the match by 6 wickets. Then, they had to wait for the result of Match no.42 between Pakistan and Ireland. The league phase of the tournament was to end with that match. Pakistan did a favor to the West Indies by defeating Ireland and sealed the last two QF berths in Pool B.
After taking the field, Jason Holder’s task was made easy by his bowlers, including himself. Wickets began to fall from the 4th over onwards. For the first wicket, Holder produced an extra bounce and Andri Berenger couldn’t remove himself in time. The ball took the edge of his bat for a straightforward catch to Denesh Ramdin. Next to go were Krishna Chandran and Amjad Ali. While Chandran edged Holder’s ball to Smith in the slips, Ali was struck plumb in front. In his first 16 deliveries, Holder had taken the top three batsmen. Like Holder, Jerome Taylor also came with quality bowling and removed two important batsmen; Khurram Khan and Shaiman Anwar. Khan was bowled by a viciously in-swinging yorker in the 7th over and in his next and innings 9th over, Taylor bowled Shaiman Anwar round his legs with a good length ball. Holder’s fourth wicket was the best that he took in his spell. Swapnil Patil, who had lasted 100 balls against South Africa, was fed a series of out-swingers before Holder nipped one off the seam that didn’t swing and took the top of Patil’s off stump. At 46/6, UAE looked like ending their innings in a miserable way but an unexpected partnership from Amjad Javed and Nasir Aziz saved UAE the blushes. The two batsmen faced West Indies’ bowlers adequately and gained in confidence as they proceeded further. West Indies were lulled into over-confidence and fielders stopped running. This complacent approach helped Javed and Aziz and they batted for nearly 16 overs and added 107 runs for the seventh wicket. In the 41st over at the score of 153, Amjad Javed was finally bowled by Andre Russel. Afterwards, the remaining wickets fell in a heap and UAE were bowled out for 175 in the 48th over.
West Indies needed 176 for victory but they had to reach there within 36.2 overs to ensure a superior net-run-rate to Ireland and Pakistan just in case the NRR became a deciding factor for the QF berth. Gayle was replaced by Johnson Charles, who had been out of ODIs for over a year and Jonathan Carter played only his second match of the CWC 2015. Both Charles and Carter did their parts well and ensured that West Indies got past the target without trouble. But Marlon Samuels looked out of touch. He was dropped on 1 scored off 11 deliveries but couldn’t last long. He fell as the second wicket in the 8th over after scoring just 9 runs off 18 balls. Earlier Dwayne Smith had fallen for 15 off 9 balls. But Charles and Carter were engaged in a 56-run stand for the third wicket and even after Charles and Andre Russell went out, Carter and Denesh Ramdin carried West Indies to 176/4 in 30.3 overs for a 6-wicket victory. The victory, however, was no emphatic assurance of a quarterfinal berth for West Indies as they needed to wait for the result of the match between Pakistan and Ireland. To their huge relief, Pakistan defeated Ireland easily and ensured quarterfinal berths for themselves and West Indies in tandem.
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