Former Australia batsman Steve Waugh has cautioned his compatriots that the West Indies have the batting power to completely take a game away, ahead of a showdown between the teams at the ICC Cricket World Cup on Thursday.

Both teams showed plenty of firepower with convincing wins in their opening encounters.  After dismissing Afghanistan for 207, the Aussies cruised to a 7-wicket win on the back of 89 from David Warner. 

The Windies were ruthless against Pakistan as steep deliveries precipitated their opponent’s hasty dismissal for 105.  The Caribbean team then cruised to 108, losing three wickets in the process.  Waugh believes Thursday’s encounter will be a big test for both.

"The Windies will provide a realistic gauge on how the team are tracking, for they possess a squad full of match-winners that can dominate if they gain any sense of ascendancy in a match,” Waugh told the ICC.

‘They are the most watchable team in the tournament with a batting line-up that can kidnap any bowling attack with brute force," Waugh added.

“No ground is big enough when this behemoth of a batting order clicks into overdrive but they also have a vulnerability against high-quality bowling as they tend to play one dimensional at times,” he said.

 “For the first time in a long while they have fast-bowling depth vindicated by Friday’s win against Pakistan without their finest in Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel.

“Their Achilles heel, however, will be their lack of mobility in the field and this is where Australia can influence the outcome.

Every side in this tournament will be wary of playing the Windies and I wouldn’t want to face them in a knockout match.”

 

In Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope, West Indies possess two batting talents that have the potential to light up the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup. 

Windies all-rounder Andre Russell is confident he will be fit and ready to face Australia, in the team’s second match of the ICC Cricket World Cup, on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Russell had an impressive cameo in the opening match for the Windies, who registered a convincing 7-wicket win over Pakistan.  The player, who was brought into the team mainly for his batting, was deadly with the ball in the opener as a barrage of short-pitched deliveries earned him figures of 2 for 4 in three overs.

The player who has, however, been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career, left hearts in mouths after seeming to develop a problem in the closing stages of the Pakistan innings.  The player seemed to have sustained the damage while stooping for the ball in the deep and toppled over the boundary to receive treatment.  Russell though remains confident his medical team can handle the issues ahead of the early blockbuster match-up.

"I've been playing for years with these knee injuries," Russell said after the match. "And sometimes it feels worse than some days but, at the end of the day, I'm a professional. I know what to do to get back. I think I have five days before the next game so that is more than enough time to get my knee back to normal and get it settled.

"Let's just see what happens. I have a good physio team, massage team, here so they're going to be working with me closely for the next couple of days."

 

Australia pace bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile has warned the Windies that the team is prepared to fight fire with fire when they square off in their next fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup on Thursday.

Short-pitched deliveries by fast bowlers of both teams played a critical role in convincing opening fixture wins.  The speed team of Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummings proved much too strong for Afghanistan, who they went on to dismiss for 207, before claiming a comfortable 7-wicket win. 

Pakistan found short-pitched deliveries from Jason Holder, O’shane Thomas and Andre Russell impossible to deal with, as they were dismissed for 105 before the Windies also cruised to a 7-wicket win.

Neither side will change the approach headed into their second encounter and Coulter-Nile is already cautioning the Windies to be ready to face the chin music.

“You’ve got to give it (bouncers) to the Windies, otherwise they just get on the front foot and pogo you everywhere,” the 31-year-old told reporters.

“We’ll definitely give it to them, we give it to every team. You’ve got to use your two (permitted bouncers per over).

“The grounds are so small and the wickets are generally pretty flat, so you’ve got to use bouncers when you can.”

Another concern for the Australians, ahead of the match, is the form Windies opener Chris  Gayle, who cracked a 34 ball 50 in the first match.  Coulter-Nile believes aggression and pace will also be key in neutralising the Windies’ main threat up top.

“Oh, Starcy (Mitchell Starc) will knock his off pole out. It will be easy,” he said jokingly about the 39-year-old Gayle.

“You know he’s going to hit your good balls for four and hit your bad balls for six. Just keep as bowling as many good balls as you can we’ll stick a few up him.

“I think you just need to be aggressive at him. He’s still smacking them but he is getting older. I don’t know if he’s faced too much of Starcy and Paddy (Pat Cummins) recently but they’re bowling quick. So we’ll see how he handles that early,” Coulter-Nile added.

Windies all-rounder Andre Russell has urged statisticians to respect the speed of his pace bowling, following a short-ball barrage against Pakistan, which earned him two wickets in the team’s ICC World Cup opener.

The 31-year-old all-rounder proved a constant thorn in the side of the Pakistan batsmen as he bowled 16 rapid short balls.  Particularly troubled was Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman as Russell’s 86mph bouncer ricocheted off his bat and helmet before hitting the stumps.

“A lot of people have been saying I have been coming in the team as a big hitter, but a lot of people don’t remember that I’m a fast bowler,” he said.

“I think they underestimate me. I have been getting jealous in the past couple of years! People have me as ‘a medium-pacer’. When I see Andre Russell come on the screen and I’m a medium pacer, I think, ‘Who are they talking to?’

“At the end of the day, I show them I can bowl 90mph and I just think they should put some respect on my name were ‘medium pace’ should go to ‘fast’.

Russell the innings ended with figures of 2 for 4 off three overs as Pakistan were bundled out for 105.  The West Indies went on to register a comfortable seven-wicket win.

 

Windies captain Jason Holder insists the team is in a relaxed frame of mind heading into Friday’s ICC World Cup opener against Pakistan, set to bowl off at 4:30 am (5:30 am ECT).

The regional team will head into the encounter against the Asia squad on a high, following a huge 421 against New Zealand in the last warm-up match, which led to a convincing 10-wicket win. The Windies were anchored by a solid 101 from the in-form Shai Hope but also had major contributions from the talented Evin Lewis and T20 all-around star Andre Russell.  For Holder, the performances are a good sign.

“One thing I like coming into this tournament is that every player is in a good frame of mind. Everybody is playing with a smile on their face, and I think that is how we play our best cricket. We’re fearless, we enjoy what we’re doing and we enjoy one another’s company,” Holder said.

“I can safely say within the group we’ve got that. We have an atmosphere that we would like to create, and we’ve got the energy going into this tournament that we want to have,” he added.

“The rest is left down to us on the field. We just have to execute whatever plans we formulate, and I think execution is key in this tournament. The teams which execute their plans and be as disciplined as they can, more often than not they’re going to come out on top.”

Windies women opener, Hayley Matthews scored her first T20 International century in a savage display in the third game of the Hanley Energy T20 Series against Ireland. 

Despite the ground history at Trent Bridge, and their opponents’ questionable form in the lead-up, West Indies captain Jason Holder isn’t getting complacent ahead of his side’s opening clash of the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup.

 A blistering unbeaten century from Windies opener Hayley Matthews put the team in perfect position to complete a sweep of Ireland Women, at the Pembroke Cricket Club on Wednesday.

 Despite the Windies already holding a 2-0 lead, the 23-year-old was in no mood to take things easy as her savage 107 runs from just 62 balls pushed the regional team to an impressive 188 for one.  Matthews’ innings consisted of seven fours and an astonishing 9 sixes.

The total was the player’s first century in the format, in the process becoming the 11th woman to reach the triple digit mark in the format.  Taylor received outstanding support from Chedean Nation, who compiled a brisk 63 from 46 balls, and also remained unbeaten at the crease.  Nation hit two sixes and six boundaries in the total. 

The Windies lost Britney Cooper early, with 26 runs on the board, but had very few issues afterwards as Matthews and Nation took the bowling attack apart. 

Sophie MacMahon took the lone wicket of Cooper but went for a costly 36 runs.  The Windies won the first match by 64 runs, before winning the second match by 45 runs.

West Indies blitzed their way to a 400-plus total against New Zealand in the last warm-up game before the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 gets under way, and the power in their batting was unreal. 

Windies captain Jason Holder has hailed the team’s big win over New Zealand in their final official ICC World Cup warm-up match as welcomed momentum heading into the start of the tournament.

In-form batsman Shai Hope stroked another brilliant 100 and was backed up by half-centuries from Evin Lewis and Andre Russell as the regional team piled up 421 runs.  In response, the Windies took any possibility of the fixture materializing as a contest after claiming early wickets, following early breakthroughs from Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach and O’Shane Thomas.  In the end, the Black Caps were 91 runs short of the target.

For Holder, such a strong all-around performance with the team bowing into action in just a couple days’ time against Pakistan is encouraging.  Especially on the back of a Tri-series performance, which featured Ireland and Bangladesh that was less than impressive.

“It was a good win; any win is good right now in the position we are in because we are building towards something special at the World Cup.  To get this momentum going into the first game against Pakistan I think is key,” Holder said following the game.

“I was also pleased with the bowlers.  I thought we stuck to our task.  It was a really good wicket, we were able to do what we wanted to do.”

 

 

In-form batsman Shai Hope led a powerful Windies performance at the crease, which saw the regional team pile on 421 to register a 91-run win over New Zealand in the team’s final ICC World Cup cricket warm-up match.

 On a flat surface at a small Bristol County Ground, the smattering of fans on hand was treated to a superb display of hitting as the Caribbean team dispatched the ball to all parts of the ground.

The innings started off with a bang thanks to an opening stand between Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis that was worth 59 runs from just 44 balls, with Gayle doing the majority of the scoring before he fell for a 22-ball 36. Lewis was more sedate, making 50 from 54 balls before he was dismissed by Jimmy Neesham.

Lewis didn’t have to force the pace, thanks to Hope who looked to attack as soon as he walked to the crease. Even with a long boundary to the west of the ground, the West Indies batsmen found no difficulty in clearing the ropes, with 18 sixes in their innings.

The most powerful hitting came from Andre Russell, who scored 54 off 25. One six, smashed towards the Ashley Down Road end of the ground, almost cleared the flats, hitting the building four floors up.

In an innings that was all about big-hitting, it would have been pleasing for the New Zealanders to see Trent Boult take 4 for 50, going at less than a run a ball. He was the one Black Caps bowler who could keep the rate down.

It was always going to be difficult for New Zealand to chase that massive total, but early wickets made the task more difficult. Needing more than eight an over from the start of their innings they stumbled to 33 for 3 in the 10th over with Martin Guptill, Henry Nichols and Ross Taylor all falling cheaply.

A brilliant stand of 120 between Kane Williamson and Tom Blundell would have kept a team in the contest on another day, but here, with the rate steadily rising, even 85 from 64 balls from Williamson and 106 from 89 from Blundell were not enough for New Zealand.

However, runs for Blundell, the stand-in keeper, will be a boost for the Black Caps with injury concerns around Tom Latham. They will kick off their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka on Saturday, 1 June, while the Windies will take on Pakistan the previous day.

West Indies captain Jason Holder has asserted that his side are sufficiently prepared for this summer's ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, despite them going wicketless in a rain-affected warm-up bout against South Africa. 

The Windies will have to play against nine teams and in so doing find a way to be better than six of them if they are to get past the first phase of the ICC World Cup in England and Wales that begins later this week. 

Windies opener Evin Lewis has not played very much 50-over cricket ahead of his side’s first game at the ICC World Cup in England and Wales next week, but believes he is ready. 

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