Jason Holder's team got the job done thanks to a strong showing in the group stages and contributions from various individuals. But they would have preferred a more convincing performance.
Overall grade: B
Beat UAE by 60 runs
Beat Papua New Guinea by 6 wickets
Beat Ireland by 52 runs
Beat the Netherlands by 54 runs (DLS method)
Lost to Afghanistan by 3 wickets
Beat Zimbabwe by 4 wickets
Beat Scotland by 5 runs (DLS method)
Lost to Afghanistan by 7 wickets
Positives to take home
Notwithstanding the relief of making it to the World Cup after a few hairy moments throughout the Qualifier, the Windies will have been most pleased to have had contributions from throughout their line-up. But while various members of the side performed at different times, they were truly led by the skipper, Jason Holder. The big Bajan scored 219 runs and took 15 wickets in eight matches to inspire his side to qualification for the tournament proper in 2019. He led the bowling attack and seemed to step up with the bat whenever his side needed him most.
Twenty-six-year-old opener Evin Lewis outshone his more illustrious partner at the top of the order, Chris Gayle, scoring 397 runs across the eight matches, with three half-centuries and an average of 49.6. He showed not only his ability to hit big sixes but also a willingness to stick around on pitches less conducive to his natural game, ready to capitalise as the innings wore on.
Holder and Lewis were joined by Marlon Samuels as the Windies representatives in the Team of the Tournament, with Holder named as captain.
Most of all, despite a disappointing defeat in the final, by qualifying they managed to avoid the unthinkable prospect of a World Cup taking place without the two-times champions of the tournament.
Areas to improve
While clearly one of the best and most experienced teams at the tournament, the Windies never managed to put together one complete performance, often making a virtue of their ability to recover from difficult situations rather than dominating from ball one. Two defeats to Afghanistan, in the Super Sixes and the final, which they lost by seven wickets, allowed the tournament winners back into the competition and will have frustrated Jason Holder no end. They got the job done, but not in the style they would have liked.
In particular, Chris Gayle was unable to replicate the form he showed in the opening game against UAE. Following that destructive 91-ball 123, he failed to pass fifty in six more attempts, with 46 against the Netherlands his only other meaningful contribution with the bat. West Indies will know he remains capable of winning match practically on his own, but will also be hoping he can produce more consistently. The hard, flat pitches expected in the UK in 2019 might be more to his liking.
Twenty-four-year-old all-rounder Rovman Powell proved himself as a tough performer with the bat as well as a useful seam bowling option.
The powerful Jamaican decisively turned a crucial group match against Ireland with his maiden ODI century just when the Windies seemed in dire straits. Entering the fray at 83/5, Powell struck seven sixes and seven fours in a remarkable 100-ball 101 that guided his team to a match-winning score of 257 from their 50 overs. He then hit 52 against the Netherlands and, with the Windies once again collapsing, top-scored in the final with 44 from 75 balls to help them up to a total of 204, which was at least something to bowl at. He is a good man to have coming in at No.7 and impressed many with his talent and maturity.
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