Best I’ve bowled in a long time – Brathwaite

HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – Pacer Carlos Brathwaite said rediscovered rhythm had been behind his career-best five-wicket haul in the Group A contest of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers against Papua New Guinea here Thursday.

The 29-year-old said that he had made no major adjustments ahead of the match but had focussed a bit on his rhythm in recent times with the coaching staff.

“I wouldn’t say it is big change. I guess I’ve just been struggling for rhythm a bit but today I found it,” he told media after the Windies completed their six-wicket victory.

“I’ve been doing some really good work with Roddy Estwick (former Windies bowling coach) before and now Alfonso Thomas the [current] bowling coach so I guess today is one of those days where everything comes together.

“You get the rewards but it doesn’t necessarily mean I did anything different in the lead-up to this game as opposed to the last one I would have played. But it’s always good to see your hard work come to fruition and for the stats to show it as well.”

The right-armer finished with five or 27 as West Indies held PNG to 200 all out off 42.4 overs.

Twice Brathwaite made key interventions. With PNG cruising on 63 for one, he snatched two wickets to trigger a slide where three wickets fell for 19 runs.

Seamer Carlos Brathwaite prepares to send down a delivery during his five-wicket haul against PNG on Thursday. (Photo courtesy ICC)

When PNG recovered to reach 151 for four, Brathwaite struck three more important blows to ensure the final collapse of the innings.

“We started well but their batters countered everything we threw at them, while scoring at a decent rate,” Brathwaite explained.

“For me, it was just to come in and put the ball in the right area and try to back up what Jason (Holder) and Kesrick (Williams) had started. It’s probably the best I’ve bowled for a long time – I had good rhythm behind me.

“I’m not usually known as a wicket-taker so it was good to get a few wickets behind my name, but it was just important at that point in time to be as disciplined as possible, restrict the boundary balls and force them to play good shots to get runs.

“I found a good length on the wicket, was pretty consistent and reaped the rewards.”

Despite picking up the bulk of the wickets, Brathwaite was quick to hail the role of the spinners in the attack.

“Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse and Marlon Samuels played a really important role bowling from the other end as the pacers attacked from one end so it was a complete team effort even though I’m the one that would take the plaudits for the five-for,” he stressed.

In reference to Holder’s career-best unbeaten 99, he added: “I think Jason played fantastically to make a difficult run chase look easy and in the field it was a complete team effort.”

The victory was the Windies’ second on the trot following their 60-run win over United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, but Brathwaite said the unit were aware the upcoming matches against Ireland and the Netherlands would be more difficult propositions.

“I think those UAE and PNG) are the two lower ranked teams out of our group so they are tougher challengers ahead and we need to do what we did today over a longer period of time and probably five, 10 per cent better when we come up against Ireland and Netherlands.”

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