West Indies responded admirably to the outcry over their lamentable World Cup opener when defeated by Ireland by crushing Pakistan by 150 runs in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday and bolstered their confidence for their matches ahead.
Andre Russell’s rapid run haul and trickery with the ball earned him man of the match and Darren Bravo showed immense grit in hitting his 49 and would probably have got his half century had he not retired with a pulled hamstring. Overall, it was a fine team performance, eclipsing the mediocrity against Ireland and for now has appeased the many West Indies detractors.
Apart from Chris Gayle failing again with the bat, many West Indies players answered the rallying cry of teammate Darren Sammy to thrash Pakistan.
At one point Pakistan were 1-4 and looked about to set the most embarrassing low-score records. They managed to restore some pride however by reaching 160 all out but after that appalling start were never going to get the 311 needed to win.
West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor did most of the damage, taking three of the first four Pakistan wickets.
Captain Jason Holder took the other early wicket and also became the youngest captain to win a World Cup game, at 23 years and 108 days.
The Barbadian beat Shakib All Hasan by 230 days when he led Bangladesh to victory over Ireland four years ago.
As well as Bravo’s brave knock, Marlon Samuels scored 38, Denesh Ramdin hit 51, Lendl Simmons scored 50 and later Russell ended the innings with 42 runs in 17 minutes.
West Indies play Zimbabwe next, in Canberra, Australia on Tuesday, then Pool B favorites South Africa on Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground before taking on reigning champions India in Perth the following Friday.
“It was a wonderful performance against Pakistan,” said Holder. “We batted really well.
“Russell, Simmons and Sammy added impetus at the end of the innings, then Taylor was excellent with the new ball.”
Zimbabwe are one of the minnows at the World Cup and assuming West Indies can maintain their momentum, this game should not cause them any serious problems and be an ideal warm-up for the stronger teams that follow.
It will also be the final chance for Gayle – who scored only 4 – to justify his place.