Nicholas Pooran

QUIET NIGHT: West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran during his side’s opening T20 World Cup match against England at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai, UAE, Saturday. Pooran made 12 yesterday against South Africa. -Photo: AP

The West Indies batsmen showed slight improvement in their second T20 World Cup match but it still wasn’t good enough, leaving the defending champions with their backs against the wall, needing to win their remaining matches to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

Skipper Kieron Pollard was “obviously disappointed” after they lost by eight wickets to South Africa, noting that the batsmen “got stuck” in the middle phase of the innings and lost momentum heading into the closing stages.

With just three matches left in the group stage, the Windies’ next encounter against Bangladesh on Friday will be do-or-die for the “Men in Maroon.”

“Well, we just have to do what it takes. We have to dig deeper as a team. We have to dig deeper as a batting unit. We have to come out and hold our heads up and try to play a good game of cricket,” Pollard told the media following yesterday’s defeat.

“We have to get wins on the board now. We’ve put ourselves in a position whereas from a run rate perspective that’s pretty low, and from a win percentage we haven’t won any games, so we have to win the next three games. We just have to take it one at a time and try to improve each and every time,” he added.

Reflecting on the game, Pollard said the WI were about 20-25 runs short after they were sent to bat first and posted 143 for eight.

South Africa replied with 144 for two off 18.2 overs to seal their first win of the competition. Evin Lewis scored 56 off 35 balls while Pollard chipped in with 26 off 20. Meanwhile, opener Lendl Simmons faced 35 deliveries for his 16.

“I’m obviously disappointed. I thought we left about 20, 25 runs out there when we batted, and that could have made a difference in terms of how we finished off because we got off to a pretty decent start in terms of getting that 40-odd in the Powerplay without losing a wicket, and that was our opportunity to try to step a foot on the gas a bit and rotate the strike a bit more and try to get to that 160,” Pollard explained.

“Sometimes you have to give and take. We didn’t lose any wickets in the Powerplay, so I think that was one of the most important things, and it was a matter of us trying to build the momentum, get it into the last phase or the last quarter of the innings,” he continued.

“I thought we got a bit stuck in the middle overs. After sort of decent Powerplay, (we got) 14 runs or 15 runs in four overs, I thought that’s where we got stuck a bit. Then we just tried to up the ante, but it’s always going to be difficult with new guys coming in to bat,” the West Indies skipper added.

Asked if he had any concerns about Simmons’ form with the opener scoring three and 16 in the two group games as well as zero and 18 in the warm-up matches, Pollard didn’t want to lay the blame at anyone’s feet. Instead he said, “I think as a team and as a unit we have not batted well.”

“I’m not going to sit here and single out any individuals. I’m not going to throw any of my team-mates under the bus. We came here as a West Indies team to do a job, and when we win, we win together; when we lose, we lose together,” Pollard said.

“We will sit down as a team, as a management, as a selection group and decide what we’re going to do going forward, but as it stands right now, I thought that we didn’t bat well collectively as a team. Evin Lewis was outstanding, the start that he gave us as an individual, but we kept losing wickets at crucial times,” he continued.

“With that being said, we’ll have some time, we’ll think about it, and hopefully we come back with the right sort of combination or the right mindset in order to put some more runs on the board,” he added.

The Windies sit at the bottom of Group One.

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