The West Indies keep playing with my heart and my sanity.
So I’m sitting home watching West Indies claw back from certain death ready to celebrate one of the more remarkable comebacks in my memory of watching cricket entirely. Meanwhile I’m also getting ready to go out to an Afrobeat party (S/o Salvation and 1 Cultr, I had a great time!) and I was supposed to be picking everyone up for 4:30 p.m.
Now it’s past 4:30 and we’re down to the last 7 balls and Carlos Brathwaithe, the sad man above us, is about to pull off a comeback for the West Indies. Something he’s done before. I messaged my friend, “I can’t leave yet.”
And the Windies, being the biggest tease in sports, I had to stay to see us win, right? So my reasons for being late were justifiable. They weren’t.
Let’s go back earlier to when I woke up, which was around 9 a.m. because I’ll be damned if I had to conform to the scheduling of the Colonizers and wake up 5:30 in the morning on a Saturday. Also I had coaching duties at a football academy.
If I had planned to wake up earlier as was able to watch the game, I could see why we’d had to chase 291 runs. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson smacked the Windies bowlers around Old Trafford with 148 runs off 153 balls with 14 fours and 1 six. He and Ross Taylor (69 off 95) made a 160 run partnership from between the 2nd over to the 34th. Willamson stayed on till Shai Hope caught him out in the 46th over.
Kane Williamson took a bite out of most of the West Indies bowlers, no question about that. Of all the bowlers who wished they had a do-over however, it’s probably Carlos Brathwaithe. Of all the West Indies’ bowlers, he had the highest run economy: 6 overs, 58 runs. 9.67 ECON. He had two wickets but still, that is egregious. Compare him to Oshane Thomas who had the same number of balls, but only allowed 30 runs.
Thank goodness for the West Indies’ favorite soldier, General Sergeant Sheldon Cottrell. He was amazing. 10 overs, 56 runs (ECON 5.60), responsible for 7 wickets and let’s add a maiden there to make it look nicer because he deserves to look nice.
Kemar Roach is here too. Where have you been? He was inactive for the first 3 games. Today he only gave New Zealand 38 runs. Two maiden overs as well. Seriously? Why wasn’t he playing earlier in the World Cup?
So is Brathwaithe the sole reason for my hurt feelings? Of course not, because cricket is a team sport and there may be an “I” in Brathwaithe, there is no “I” in “team.”
So maybe an hour before I started watching, I learned Hope and Pooran were already out before they got going; a combined 2 runs off 10 balls. Shai “Thank the Force you’re not my only” Hope goes for gold on his 3rd ball and gets bowled by Trent Boult; he’ll be responsible for 4 more later. Nicholas Pooran, he’s been steady so far this tournament but but today goes for broke himself. Sends one straight up on his 7th ball and Tom Latham dismisses him.
Meanwhile Chris Gayle is still there. He opened with Shai. He’s’ not in a rush. He gets into a rhythm. He gets a couple boundaries. Shimron Hetmyer, 4th on the order,he’s here too. He remembers he’s playing an ODI and not T20 and follows suit for a while; a 122-run partnership.
Then…freefall. Hetmyer gets bowled out by Lockie Ferguson; we’ll see him again soon. Hetmyer leaves with 54 off 45, but it’s ok because here comes captain Jason Holder. He’ll give us some runs and we’ll be on our…
Oh ok. That was too soon. Thanks for coming, Jason. Here’s a duck on the way out.
At least we still have Gayle. However he’s taking risks. Two New Zealand fielders dropped catches against Gayle and it was only a matter of time before they got him. Just before the 24th over, they got him short of the boundary.
At the crease now are Brathwaithe and Ashley Nurse. Nurse won’t last long and I imagined for some Carlos wouldn’t. Some people even went about their day. Not me. I stood pat and watched. Because Carlos Brathwaithe may not be the best bowler and after Sunday I have questions about his fielding:
But if there’s one thing I KNOW about Carlos Brathwaithe is that he could bat. We all remember what happened in 2016. I REMEMBERED HIS NAME! So I kept watching.
One by one, batsmen came and went.
- First it was Nurse. He couldn’t stop the bleeding. Boult bowls him, Neesham catches.
- Evin Lewis who’s this low on the order because of a hamstring injury. This time Neesham caught him. Gives him more time to rest.
- Roach is on. He gives us a 6. Gives us 8 more and Neesham catches him.
- Cottrell’s back on the field with a bat in his hand. He gives us 15 more. Lockie bowls him out.
68 balls bowled. 4 batsmen gone. Brathwaite’s still here. He’s managing the game. Getting singles. Shooting the gaps. Boundaries whenever he can. After Cottrell leaves and Oshane comes in, we’re 40 runs away from 22 balls. Like Keanu Reeves in 2003, something’s gotta give. The 46th over was the season of giving. Matthew James Henry, was Kiwi Claus.
“The Best of Both Worlds for the Big Man From Barbados! His first international century. What a time to keep the dream alive! “
Ian Bishop commentary and Carlos Brathwaithe performances go hand in hand.
For one over Carlos Brathwaithe was invincible. It’s almost 2016 all over again. Boundary after boundary I’m all over the house fist pumping! Ecstatic like Machel in the 90s! We’re 6 runs away from 7 balls. I remembered the name. I believed.
I believed the dream…
I believed the lie.
I came off the high and immediately got low. But I was mid again because that’s what the West Indies do to you. They can never be decisive with what they want to do. Do they want to win convincingly, or lose hard? Nah. It’s peaks and valleys, we start bad, get better, go on a run, fall off, come back, make it close, have a mishap, right the ship, and let fate decide what we do next.
The West Indies are a Keri Hilson song. Sometimes, they come around. But then they just knock you down. But then you just gotta pick yourself up when they knock you down, because who knows?
They are the biggest tease in sports. The West Indies entice you with the chance that they’re going to do something spectacular — and on occasion, they do! But more times than not, it always ends with blue-balls and leaves us fans with feelings of sorrow, bitterness and despair.
But I refuse to end this post on a sad note. I have to give props to when it’s due. Sheldon Cottrell had a master performance against the New Zeland batsmen, playing a part in 7 of the West Indies 8 wickets. And you could say whatever you want about C.B. Yeah he gave up 58 runs earlier in the day but he more than made up for it. He gave us one of the most heroic performances in the World Cup and it shouldn’t go unnoticed, even though he came up short.
Till next time West Indies, you tease you.