T20 World Cup: Why West Indies Are The Most Dangerous Team In Super Eights


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Tue 18 Jun 2024, 2:03 PM

Co-hosts West Indies fired warning shots at the top guns ahead of the Super Eights stage by thrashing Afghanistan in their final group game on Monday.

Left-hander Nicholas Pooran combined elegance with power to score 98 with eight sixes on Monday and propel his team to a 104-run win over Afghanistan at Gros Islet in St Lucia.


The thumping win over a dangerous Afghan side, which had already knocked New Zealand out of the tournament, proved that the home team have what it takes to go all the way.

Star-studded teams like Australia, India, England and South Africa may have already become everyone's favourites to reach the semifinals from the two Super Eights groups, but you can write the West Indies off at your own peril.


West Indies, which begin their Super Eights campaign against defending champions England on Wednesday (4:30 am UAE Time, Thursday), could enjoy the more favourable batting conditions on their home pitches which have also brought the spinners into play.

In Akeal Hosein, they have a fine left-arm spinner who has already taken nine wickets in the tournament. Their powerful batters and explosive all-rounders ensured they became the only unbeaten side in the first round alongside Australia with four wins from four matches.

Brilliant Pooran

Now with Pooran returning to his top form in their final group game against Afghanistan, West Indies will be brimming with confidence as they prepare to take on England in their first Super Eights game.

Pooran was run out by a direct hit on the stumps by Azmatullah Omarzai attempting a second run in the final over as West Indies amassed 218 for five, the highest score of the competition.

In reply, Afghanistan reached 114 from 16.2 overs although the result was academic as both teams had already qualified for the Super Eight round which starts on Wednesday.

West Indies went instantly on to the attack after being asked to bat first on an excellent pitch in front of an exuberant crowd.

While Brandon King fell early, Pooran (98 off 53 balls) found a fine partner in Johnson Charles (43 of 27 balls) as the two batters put the Afghan bowlers to the sword.

Charles hit eight fours, but Pooran was unstoppable against both pacers and spinners, hitting six fours and eight sixes.

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan brought himself on in the fifth over to try to exert some control with his wrist spin only to concede 12 runs, and at the end of the powerplay West Indies were 92 for one, the highest score after six overs in a T20 World Cup.

Afghanistan's slow bowlers managed to wrest back some control but the score was still 113 for two after 10 overs and 148 for three after 15. The 200 came up after 18.5 overs off medium pacer Gulbadin Naib, the seventh man asked to bowl.

The Afghans were never in the hunt as the West Indies bowlers imposed a stranglehold from the start, with left arm paceman Obed McCoy, playing his first game of the tournament, varying his length and pace from a relaxed action to take three for 14.

Pooran, in his other role as wicketkeeper, took a spectacular leaping catch before the innings finished.

"I had to take responsibility," said Pooran after smashing the highest individual score at this year's tournament.

"In West Indies people want four and sixes. You can't do that every time but when conditions allow you should capitalise."

Skipper Rovman Powell said the West Indies would try to exploit the home conditions in the Super Eights as they aim to become the first team to win three T20 World Cup titles, following their triumphs in 2012 and 2016.

"We are playing in the West Indies, and it is our responsibility to make full use of home conditions," the Windies skipper said.

"When we started the journey, we were 8th or 9th in the world. Now we are around 3rd in the world, and when you do well, the fans start believing." (With inputs from Reuters)

First two Super Eight matches:

Wednesday

South Africa vs USA

6:30 pm UAE Time

Thursday

West Indies vs England

4:30 am UAE Time

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Khaleej Times

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