Reifer urges batsmen to play bigger roles

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa,  CMC – Embattled West Indies captain Floyd Reifer has called on his batsmen to convert starts into match-winning innings.

Opener Andre Fletcher (54) and Travis Dowlin (55) scored half-centuries on Saturday but were dismissed at crucial stages as West Indies lost by 50 runs to Australia to virtually eliminate their chances of reaching the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals.

“We were definitely in with a good chance to win the game but one of the batsmen that were in needed to carry on to get a big score,” Reifer said after his team’s second successive loss at The Wanderers.

“That’s what we have been talking about for a long time in team meetings that when guys get starts they need to go on and get big scores.

“You can’t just get to fifty and get out, someone needed to score 80, or 90 or even a hundred and it would have been a big difference.”

Winning the toss and opting to bowl, the Windies reduced the Aussies to 171 for seven at one stage before Mitchell Johnson slammed a whirlwind, unbeaten 73 from 47 balls to rally his side to 275 for eight.

In response, West Indies were in the hunt at 124 for one in the 25th over but they ran out of steam after losing crucial wickets.

Despite the loss, Reifer praised his young side’s ability to press the Australians.

“We are learning and learning quickly. To score 230 odd on a pitch like that against Australia is a good effort,” the 37-year-old pointed out.

“And note we had a batsman short today [after] Dale Richards got injured in the field and his shoulder was dislocated. So we started at a disadvantage when we were batting and that was unfortunate for him.

“Going into the game, I still thought we still had a good chance at 124 for two but one of the guys needed to carry on. It’s probably a little bit of inexperience.”

The Windies will play their final group stage match against India on Wednesday at The Wanderers.

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