Two Times T20 World Cup Champions West Indies Exits in the First round

The eighth edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has been nothing short of entertainment from the first day. The first round has provided thrilling games and upsets. However, the biggest upset is the Two time T20 World Cup Champions West Indies have been eliminated from the first round by Ireland today, shocking the world.

West Indies, the only team to win the Men’s T20 World Cup title twice – in 2012 and 2016 – played this edition in the first round after they failed to be among the top eight in T20I rankings during the 2021 edition last year. It was the first time that the Men in Maroon played in the first round of any T20 WC Tournament.

It was a bit shocker for a good team like Men in Maroon. They have been the most influenced by the shorter formats. Even Ottis Gibson said to never discount them when it comes to T20s.

In relation to this article, also read:

What Went Wrong For Defending Champions West Indies in T20 World Cup 2021

West Indies progress in the tournament

West Indies began the tournament with a surprise loss to Scotland. They suffered a 42-run loss in their opener, getting bowled out for 118 while chasing 160. Their batters, apart from Jason Holder, could not score against their spinners. A huge loss meant that they have to recover quickly in the next game.

It is exactly what happened against Zimbabwe. Though the batters did not click, returning Johnson Charles and a late burst from Akeal Hossein gave them 153. It was more than enough as the pace batteries of the side, Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder, shared seven wickets between them to win by 31 runs.

The final game for Nicholas Pooran and his men meant that the winner will take all. They faced Ireland, who recently chased down their highest score in the competition against Scotland. Brandon King scored the only fifty for the team this tournament while some batters chipped in to put on 146. That was nothing for Ireland, as Paul Stirling and Lorcan Tucker guided them to a victory for ages.

Points Table – Group BPlayedWonLostPointsNRR
Ireland (Q)3214+0.105
West Indies3122-0.563

Note – Points Table is updated following the conclusion of the WI vs Ireland match and before the start of the Scotland vs Zimbabwe match.

What went wrong for the Windies

There were so many factors to look at. Their batting obviously did not click. But their bowling selection was questionable too. To start off with bowling, captain Nicholas Pooran started off bowling with Kyle Mayers (first two games), Odean Smith (last game) and Akeal Hosein as his first two bowling openers. This was indeed a mistake as Hosein is a spinner while Mayers and Smith are fast-medium bowlers. 

It is questionable why Pooran did not open with their pace bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder. In a similar game between Sri Lanka and the UAE, SL opened the bowling with bowlers who bowled over 140+ kmph. Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara helped them strike early, getting quick and early wickets.

But West Indies starting with medium-pace bowlers means that you are asking the batters to settle down and score in the powerplay. In both games against Scotland and Ireland, the PP run rate was over eight and a half, settling their batters to take control of the innings.

The batting was an obvious issue. The mentality of “hit” everything out of the park is not always the solution. You think of batters like Babar Azam and Kane Williamson, who control most of the innings by playing the ground shots, it’s not harmful to play such cricket. That was lacking in the Maroon team.

The West Indies are eliminated. They go home. There were no tactical understanding of the opposition nor of their own selves. The next T20 World Cup will be played in 2024, in a different format of course. To keep up with their title of the only team to be champions twice, they need to twerk with their approach to T20 cricket.

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