P*ss-poor Windies hand Digicel Series to South Africa – Fans want to know, ‘When will they be fired?’
The West Indies team continues to play infuriating Jekyll & Hyde cricket. The regional side is beginning to perfect playing exceedingly well for half of the match, thereby infusing their fans with hope for an elusive victory. Then for the other half it is as if the team is on a mission to find every way to implode while batting.
After losing four matches on the trot to South Africa in Antigua (all while batting last) – and allowing a 2-0 lead in the Digicel One Day International Series – they continued to keep their record intact as they virtually surrendered to South Africa by 67 runs in the Third Digicel ODI at Windsor Park in Dominica.
Proteas captain, Graeme Smith, won the toss and stuck with his winning formula of batting first.
After playing brilliant cricket in the first half of the day and thereby bowling South Africa out for a modest 224, the West Indies batting performance lacked fight, resistance, purpose and spine. It was later described by their exasperated Head Coach, Ottis Gibson, as “ridiculous”.
They were all out for 157 in 38 overs, tellingly unable to even make it to the 40thover. It meant that the home team left 72 deliveries unused.
Worse, the Digicel Series has now been lost. South Africa have now won the first three ODI matches in addition to their two Digicel Twenty20 wins and – even if the Windies were to turn around their fortunes and chalk up wins in the next two ODIs – they will be no more than consolation wins. Which is more than likely to happen, eh?
The Proteas total was built around a responsible 70 by new first choice wicketkeeper, AB de Villiers, who faced 80 deliveries and hit two fours and a six. His was a worthy Man-of-the-Match performance. The entire African team managed only 13 fours and two sixes as the Windies bowlers delivered an almost unerring line for the most part.
Contributions of 34, 31 and 29 by in-form opener Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Smith all aided in bolstering the total and pushing it over the 200 barrier. Little did they realize that even 200 would prove to be out of the reach of the floundering Windies.
Under-rated medium pacer, Kieron Pollard, stepped to the fore and delivered three wickets for 27 runs in six overs. His Trinidadian counterpart, Dwayne Bravo, registered another 2 wickets for 40 and left arm spinner, Sulieman Benn, captured 2 as well, which cost him 43 runs.
The West Indies run chase started in circumspect fashion. Captain, Chris Gayle, spent 18 deliveries picking up 10 runs, he then viciously hooked his 19th delivery, delivered by fast medium bowler, Charl Langeveldt, for six into the stands. Knowing that Gayle typically plays in 5th gear and offers opportunities as a consequence, the bowler returned to the top of his mark and hustled back in. Revenge was immediate.
Gayle half sparred, half stabbed at a delivery which was angled across his left handed stance and the ball peeled off the edge of his bat and was intercepted by the secure hands of Kallis at first slip. It was the sixth over and the score was then 29 for 1.
Top scorer, Dale Richards (28), and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (24) moved it to 59 by the 12th over but then Richards too fell to a Kallis first slip catch. Richards hung his bat outside the off stump like a novice and Kallis flung his 34 year-old body to his right and came up with a catch even illustrious South African fielder, Jonty Rhodes, would have no hesitation in applauding.
Thereafter, it was a story of man-in-man-out as wickets fell every few overs and three went down in the 30th to leave the Windies tottering beyond repair at 118 for 8.
The scorecard will show Morne Morkel’s figures as 7-0-21-4. The tall pacer bowled well as the statistics suggest but he was aided by lacklustre West Indian batsmen not keen on sticking about for a contest.
Langeveldt added the scalps of Darren Sammy (10) and Kieron Pollard (10) to his bag as he finished with 3 for 30 from seven overs.
With the Digicel Series now won, the visitors can allow their more taxed players a break and give the youngsters on their bench an opportunity to showcase their skills. It is a luxury the West Indies wished they had. They have been engaged in rotating men on and off the bench in a desperate bid for a victory of any sort. All Gayle has managed to win this series is the toss, and even that he has begun to lose.