Hope, Chase Steer WI Past Hapless USA

WI crush USA to stay alive the competition. (PC: X.com)

The best possible way for the USA to topple the West Indies was to take early wickets with the ball and chase down the target. That didn’t happen. The USA batters could only post 128 on the board, which was never going to be enough against a strong West Indies’ batting line-up.

Early wickets could have turned the tide, but they failed to materialise, allowing the home side to chase down the target in under 11 overs. This victory was largely due to a sensational innings from Shai Hope, securing the West Indies their first win of the Super 8s in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. This win also improved the Windies’ Net Run Rate (NRR) above South Africa’s, enhancing their chances of advancing, especially if they manage to beat the Proteas in their next game.

The Men in Maroon knew they had to not only win to stay in contention but also chase the target quickly to improve their NRR. Johnson Charles struggled to find his rhythm, but Hope, stepping in for Brandon King, was outstanding during the Powerplay, fully exploiting the field restrictions. Hope dispatched the USA bowlers to all corners of the ground. His task was made easier as Saurabh Netravalkar failed to extract much movement with the new ball.

After Netravalkar’s first spell, Hope went on the offensive, recording the fourth fastest fifty of this World Cup. Meanwhile, Charles got out attempting to accelerate. Nicholas Pooran joined the fray and continued the aggressive approach as it was their only viable strategy. Both batsmen hammered the bowlers and finished the match in the blink of an eye. Hope remained unbeaten on 82 off just 39 balls and fittingly hit the winning runs, securing the chase with just over 9 overs to spare.

Batting first, the USA lost Steven Taylor early, but Nitish Kumar and Andries Gous added 48 runs for the second wicket, stabilising the innings. Gous looked promising, but the partnership was cut short by Kumar’s untimely dismissal, allowing the West Indies to regain control by taking regular wickets. Milind Kumar and Shadley van Schalkwyk got starts but couldn’t convert them into significant scores. Ali Khan added some late fireworks, pushing the USA past the 125-run mark. Roston Chase was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball, achieving his best T20I figures, while Andre Russell provided excellent support, claiming three wickets.

The USA batters showed effort and promise throughout the innings, but the West Indies proved too strong. The spinners were particularly effective, conceding only 46 runs and taking 4 wickets in 10 overs. Their fielding was also good, though there were a few lapses that they will need to address before facing a formidable South African team.