Holder praises Windies progress despite final defeat

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Captain Jason Holder has hailed the progress made by West Indies in the just concluded Tri-Nations Series saying the lowly ranked side had defied the expectations of many.

 Captain Jason Holder hits through the off-side during his 34 against Australia in the final of the Tri-Nations Series. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)
Captain Jason Holder hits through the off-side during his 34 against Australia in the final of the Tri-Nations Series. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)

West Indies, ranked number eight in One-Day Internationals, entered the series against World champions Australia and the number three-ranked South Africa, as massive underdogs.

However, they managed to clinch a spot in the final against the Aussies and though they were outplayed by 58 runs in Sunday’s final at Kensington Oval, Holder believes his side had much to be proud of.

“At the beginning of this tournament, a lot of people didn’t expect us to reach this final. People expected South Africa and Australia to just roll over us,” he told a media conference here.

“Credit must go to the way we fought throughout the entire series.

To put ourselves in this position to play the final was just tremendous. If you look back on this game, [we allowed them to get] 20, 30 runs too many and we weren’t able to quite get it going in the batting department.”

West Indies played well in patches throughout the tournament, winning one of two games on each of the three legs to finish second behind the Aussies in the standings.

Perhaps their best performance came against South Africa last Friday when they piled up 285 and then bundled out their opponents for 185.

Holder said the batting of Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard, along with the bowling of pacer Shannon Gabriel, had been the highlights of the series for the Caribbean side.

“There were lots of positives. We had two centuries in this entire tournament, we had a 90 again by Marlon, [we had] Pollard coming back in and getting two half-centuries,” Holder pointed out.

“Sunil (Narine) coming back and he had a big haul in Guyana, Shannon Gabriel impressed in his first few games [and] Carlos Brathwaite continues to show people he’s a quality all-rounder.

“Even the energy we showed in the field, I think this is the first time in a while we’ve showed such energy in the field and we’ve been at fault for having it for one particular game and losing it in the next few, but I can’t commend the fielders enough. I thought their effort was tremendous throughout this entire series.”

On Sunday, West Indies were let down by their batting as they crumbled for 212 all out in pursuit of 271 for victory. Opener Johnson Charles struck a top score of 45, Denesh Ramdin got 40 and Holder, 34, but the hosts squandered a 49-run opening stand, as the middle order folded.

Holder said the lower order had not been patient enough, especially after making somewhat of a recovery from 72 for four to 148 for five.

“We were off to a reasonably good start, we kept wickets in hand … I thought the new ball was crucial and we didn’t give any wickets away in the first ten [overs]. We just never really got going in the middle,” he noted.

“I thought we recovered well, well enough to build a partnership there at the end with Polly (Pollard) and Ramdin first and then myself and Ramdin afterward. It’s just unfortunate we weren’t able to carry those partnerships deeper.

“At the stage I got out probably wasn’t the best time and I felt I was going reasonably well at that stage. Probably if we couldn’t gotten 100 [runs] in the last ten overs we would have been still in the game … we tried to just force the issue at that stage when we probably could have held on a little longer.”

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