GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Head coach Stuart Law said West Indies were still searching for the ideal batting performance against minnows Afghanistan as they looked to turn the page on a couple of ordinary efforts, with a win in Wednesday’s series decider.
The Australian conceded that his side had been far from convincing in the two opening matches despite winning the second on Sunday but said the final game presented an opportunity for the Caribbean side’s batsmen to “step up.”
“It’s a fresh pitch. It’s a must-win game for both teams so exciting cricket to be played,” Law said here.
“Our batters have got to step up. Someone in the top six I would like to see go on and get a hundred. Twenties and 30s aren’t getting us many results that we’d like.
“I’d like to see 80s to hundreds [and] 120s, and really kill the game for us and let our bowlers loose with a total on the board. That would be outstanding.”
West Indies suffered a humiliating defeat in the opener last Friday when they were beaten by 63 runs, after failing to chase down a modest 213 for victory at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.
They were 68 for two in the 23rd over but crashed to 149 all out, with 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan claiming seven for 18 – the fourth best figures in one-day history.
“We probably haven’t performed as well as we know we can,” Law conceded.
“That first night I thought we did OK to restrict them to just over 200. We probably should have restricted them to 150, 175 just through some lax bowling [we allowed them to score more].
“We did not approach the game with as much gusto as we needed and a guy like Rashid, he had a night out that’s for sure. He bowls very well and is difficult to face under lights. You can’t see the rotation of the ball under lights and that makes it even harder.”
After watching their bowlers stun the Afghans for just 135 in the second game, the Windies batsmen made heavy weather of the target, losing six wickets before stumbling home in the 40th over.
Khan was once again among the wickets with three for 26 but Shai Hope, batting at number three, top-scored with an unbeaten 48 to see West Indies to safety.
Law said West Indies had shown a huge improvement in their approach to the second game and even though the batting lacked conviction, there were indications improvement was on the horizon.
“Bowling them out for 135 was a tremendous effort. Our batters once again they looked shaky [but] we showed signs we can cope with the leg-spin,” Law pointed out.
“Shai Hope batted tremendously well, Evin Lewis got us off to a great start and then Jason Holder and Rovman Powell came in and finished up a good night’s work.
“However, there are still plenty of areas to improve on and looking forward to Wednesday … I’m looking forward to seeing our boys play a good, positive game of cricket.”