Windies captain commends team’s tremendous progress, despite elimination from World Cup

Home*Cover Story*Sports

Windies captain commends team’s tremendous progress, despite elimination from World Cup

West Indies’ ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign came to an end on June 23, when the co-hosts suffered a narrow defeat to South Africa in their final Super Eights fixture.

After an exceptional start in the first round, having gathered all eight points from their four matches to top Group D, and making into the Super Eights as a serious title contender, West Indies witnessed a dip in form against England, and South Africa. This cost them their semi-final berth.

Still, captain Powell is proud of how the team progressed throughout the year, moving up the ladder to third place in June 2024 [a recent loss saw them drop a position] in the ICC Men’s T20 International Team Rankings.

“I think the cricket we have played in the last 12 months or so is commendable,” stated Powell in the post-match presentation ceremony.

“Credit has to be given to the team. If you can take a year to move from number nine to number three in the world, that’s tremendous work.”

West Indies put up quite a show during the tournament, with a number of home players firing up the crowd’s imagination. There were brilliant wins over New Zealand and Afghanistan.

The West Indies captain shared his joy in seeing a lot of buzz around the Caribbean again.

“We haven’t won the World Cup, but there was a lot of improvement. There’s a lot of buzz around the Caribbean again about West Indies cricket. We have done some very good things over the last 12 months.”

“Now is where the work starts. It’s for us to continue to work as a group, still be tight, and hopefully, just hopefully, we can continue to climb the rankings and make the Caribbean people proud.”

Powell acknowledged the support they received on and off the field during the home World Cup and identified it as a sign that the team was headed in the right direction.

“That (the support) has been fantastic. For all the venues that we have played, for all the social media likes and stuff that people have given us, we as a team really appreciate it.”

Emphasizing on comeback of the West Indies’ cricketing culture, he added, “It’s good to see that some buzz is back in the Caribbean for cricket, because we know how long that has died down. Now people are rallying around the West Indies as they do. Now, when we hear the anthem play, as players we feel something. I think that is heading in the right direction.”

The Windies succumbed to a disheartening loss against South Africa to step back from the tournament as they failed to defend a target of 123, in 17 overs (DLS).

A poor batting display kept them restricted to 135 runs in 20 overs, with Roston Chase (52 runs in 42 balls) bagging himself a half century. With the ball, Alzarri Joseph, Andre Russell, and Chase did an excellent job picking up a total of seven wickets between them but thanks to a composed finish from Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada, the South Africans took home a three-wicket win with five balls to spare.

Though dismayed at this outing, Powell credited his side for their spirit.

“As a batting group, this is one batting performance we’ll try our best to forget. I think we didn’t bat well in the middle overs especially,” Powell said.

“You see both teams bat on the wicket. Obviously, it wasn’t an easy wicket, especially to get started. I think it was a commendable bowling effort. 130 (135) at the halfway mark, we said we’re just going to give it our all, whatever happens, happens.

“Credit has to be given to the guys at the halfway mark. They believed, even though it was only 135. They fight to the very end.”