‘We didn’t deserve to win’ – Sammy bemoans West Indies’ sloppy catching

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West Indies’ head coach Daren Sammy has pulled up his fielders for their sloppy effort that let Zimbabwe off the hook and set their side up for a heartbreaking defeat in Harare.

West Indies dropped Sikandar Raza twice, first on 1 and then on 7, with the batter taking advantage of those reprieves to become the top scorer in the game with 68 off 58 balls.

West Indies shelled four catches; Alzarri Joseph was responsible for creating three of those chances.

“Extremely disappointed. At the toss, we got to do what we wanted to do, which is to bowl first,” Sammy said at his post-match press conference. “Look, if we continue to display this type of fielding – we’ve spoken about it for the last few games – and if you keep giving the opposition’s best batters chances, eventually the cricket gods will catch up with you.

 Sikandar Raza survived a couple of chances but steadied Zimbabwe•Jun 24, 2023•ICC via Getty Images

“And it did with us today, but [a target of] 269 on that surface… Again, these are the things we’re trying to change. We’ve seen it happen in the past before and the direction that I want this team to move forward…Today was really poor and it’s about taking responsibility and we didn’t do that today. And hence we didn’t deserve to win at all today.”

Captain Shai Hope was also quite scathing in his assessment of West Indies’ fielding after they crashed to a 35-run defeat.

“To be honest, too much is on my mind right now,” Hope said at the post-match presentation. “I don’t know if I can explain it but [there is] certainly a lot of hurt and disappointment. But the tournament is not over as yet. Catches: plain and simple.

We created chances. We always ask the bowlers to create chances and they’re just doing that but we’re not supporting them in the field like we should and then with the bat again. Like I said, if we had 260 to chase before the day’s start, we would’ve been happy with that.”

West Indies were among the pre-tournament favourites to qualify for the World Cup in India along with Sri Lanka, but their defeat to Zimbabwe has now jeopardised their chances of progressing to the main event later this year.

West Indies dropped two points, which they could’ve carried forward to the Super Sixes (two points are carried forward for each win against other teams that qualify from your group – Zimbabwe and Netherlands in West Indies’ case), but Sammy insisted that it wasn’t the end of the road yet.

“I wouldn’t say it hampers [our qualification] but it makes it more difficult,” Sammy said. “You’d love to go into the Super Six with four points. We knew from the time we left home that this game would’ve been very important to us. And again, like I said, the way we’ve played… I kept telling the guys that we kept on winning games [by] not playing our best cricket.

Today again, we asked so much of ourselves. When you put on a display of fielding like this and then you get yourself in a good position and take the game for granted, the cricket gods will make you pay and that’s exactly what I’m going to tell them in the dressing room.

We did not deserve to win, and we did not play to win today and now we have a lot of work to do – firstly to get to the Super Six and take on the other teams that we face.

Daren Sammy: “If you keep giving the opposition’s best batters chances, eventually the cricket gods will catch up with you” • Getty Images

“We’ve made our road to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 a bit more difficult, but I don’t give up on anything. I’ll keep encouraging the boys and challenging them to be better because the trend I’ve started here is going to be moving.

And I tell them, who wants to get a ticket has to come and buy that ticket at the ticket office. At the moment, some of us are not buying that ticket for that train to move on.”

‘No time to cry and think about loss to Zimbabwe too much’

So, how can West Indies move on from this chastening defeat and prepare for the vital clash against Netherlands, who have also made it to the Super Sixes, on Monday?

“Probably best to have the day off tomorrow, to be honest, to throw everything out and we need to get it out of our systems,” Hope said. “And then come hard again come Monday because we know we have our work cut out for ourselves now and know exactly what is required.”

Sammy also backed West Indies to get their mission back on track against Netherlands. “We have to be in that game as quickly as possible. I’m thinking about how I’m going to approach the guys in the dressing room,” he said. “But look, there’s no time to cry and think about it too much. We got to get our positive mindset and game face on and do it again on Monday.

“Monday becomes very important for us and we will look at the squad and combination and we will come up with the best one to go out and win the game. We will not take this [Zimbabwe] victory as the end of the road. I have a strong feeling that this West Indies team will bounce back. Sometimes, you just need a good wake-up call to make you understand and appreciate the opportunity we have here.” (ESPNcricinfo)

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