Powerful Jamaican helps Caribbean side pull off a precious T20 World Cup warm-up win
Nicholas Pooran oversaw a rare T20I triumph for the wobbly West Indies, greatly assisted by Brandon King’s battling half-century, to comfortably fend off the UAE by 17 runs at the Junction Oval in Melbourne today.
The Windies started their warm-up for this week’s T20 World Cup with a stuttering batting display, nine players unable to reach double figures, as they registered a poor total of 156-9 from their allotted 20 overs.
UAE were not much better than their illustrious opponents with the bat, only two players reaching double figures, as they fell short to finish on 135-6 Down Under.
The Windies appeared to be in trouble at 22-3 as early as the fifth over. However,the power hitting from Jamaican’s King and skipper Pooran, for an explosive 95-run fourth wicket stand, steered them towards a creditable total.
Their partnership was ended when Trinidad’s Pooran was clean bowled for 46 off 31 deliveries by Junaid Siddique. The Pakistan-born medium pacer was on fire to rip through the dismal batting display and capture remarkable figures of 5-13.
Kingston-born King played with aplomb to bag a sparkling 64 off 45 balls. And a late rally from Antiguan bowler Alzarri Joseph, who notched 15 from 11 deliveries, helped the Windies set a stiff target for the relative minnows.
The gulf between the two teams became apparent early on, with the UAE in dire straits when they slipped up to stand at 66-5 in the 13th over. When they were down to 82-6 in the 16th over, then it appeared to be a breeze for the Caribbean side.
Yet a gutsy innings from Waseem Muhammad, who finished with an unbeaten 69 from 52 balls, helped them reach a decent final total. It was a frustrating day for the bowlers, except Barbados veteran medium pacer Raymon Reifer who bagged figures of 3-17.
The West Indies, who are the only team to twice win the T20 World Cup, face the Netherlands at the Melbourne’s MCG on Wednesday in their final warm-up ahead of next week’s World Cup qualifiers against Scotland, Zimbabwe and Ireland respectively.
Although the Windies are strong favourites to navigate their way out of the group, Zimbabwe should not be taken lightly as they are one of the most improved teams in the T20I format.
WEST INDIES’ ICC T20 WORLD CUP GROUP B GAMES
17 October | Scotland (Blundstone Arena, Hobart)
19 October | Zimbabwe (Blundstone Arena, Hobart)
21 October | Ireland (Blundstone Arena, Hobart)
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