The Boss is in the building
Chris Gayle – 123 v UAE, Group Stage
The first match of the Windies’ campaign saw Christopher Gayle once more on the stage that made his name. His presence in the tournament has been cheering for cricket fans, many of whom feared his international days were over, and this statement innings spoke of a player committed, focused, and ready to mix it. He was rarely as destructive again in the competition, but he made his point. This Windies team was united, and Gayle was back.
The skipper wards off PNG threat
Jason Holder – 99* v PNG, Group Stage
The final analysis – a six-wicket win, eight overs remaining – belied the twitchiness of the run-chase. The Windies were tottering badly, 58/4 chasing 200, when the young skipper stepped up to play the most important innings of his career so far.
With Shai Hope anchored at the other end, Holder opened his huge shoulders, planting four sixes and belting nine fours. He would finish on 99, but the elusive century was of no concern: the skipper, overseeing one of the toughest jobs in world cricket, had ensured his team remained on track to get the job done.
And of course Holder has been just as effective with the ball, claiming 15 tournament wickets so far, making him one of the candidates to be named Player of the Tournament.
Keemo comes to the party
Keemo Paul’s first ODI wicket v Afghanistan, Group Stage
With his first legal delivery in senior international cricket, the fast-bowling starlet thundered through Javed Ahmadi’s defences to claim an lbw decision and a maiden wicket in ODI cricket. Bowling with pace and intelligence, he picked up two in the match and two more in the next, against Zimbabwe, his emergence confirming that the Caribbean talent pool remains as fertile as ever.
Rovman the main man
Rovman Powell’s match-clinching six, v Zimbabwe, Super Sixes
It was the chase of the tournament. The Windies would reel in Zimbabwe’s 289 with six deliveries of the match remaining thanks to hands from Marlon Samuels (86), Shai Hope (76) and Lewis (64), but it was the intervention of Rovman Powell with 10 runs from 11 balls needed and four wickets left that captured what this team is about.
When the Jamaican climbed into the left-armer Sean Williams, depositing him way over the ropes at long on, the game had all-but fallen to the Windies. After a stunning blitz against Ireland (101 from 100 balls) brought him his first ODI century, this was the moment Powell confirmed his readiness to stand up for his team when the pressure is at its most intense.
Lewis keeps his cool
Evin Lewis – 66 v Scotland, Super Sixes
Faced with a scoreboard reading 2/2 in the decider and the loss of his mentor from the first ball of the match, the young left-hander Evin Lewis had to summon all his reserves of composure and nerve. Slowly at first, circumspectly moving through the gears, Lewis began to piece the innings back together in partnership with Marlon Samuels.
And then in the 16th over, Lewis loosened the shackles for the first time, pumping Alasdair Evans into the stands twice in the over to bring up the 50-run stand. Thereafter Lewis took control, compiling the highest innings of the match. It was enough, just, for the Windies.
Just what the doctor ordered
Ashley Nurse – caught-and-bowled against Scotland’s Callum MacLeod, Super Sixes
Windies off-spinner Ashley Nurse had bowled tidily but without much reward for his three tournament wickets. But his one-hand grab to get rid of Callum MacLeod off his own bowling was one of the standout pieces of fielding in the tournament.
A flat dart was punched solidly by MacLeod, who was horrified to see Nurse hurling his considerable bulk to the skimmer and clinging on one-handed as he sprawled in the turf of the non-striker’s end. The catch halted the partnership between MacLeod and Berrington and brought the Windies back into the contest.