'West Indies showed character' - Pollard
West Indies' stand-in captain Kieron Pollard praised his side for showing character in a tense one-wicket win over India at Sabina Park, despite the main batsmen failing to close out the game. Chasing 230, West Indies lost their ninth wicket with ten needed, but Nos 9 and 11, Kemar Roach and Tino Best respectively, held their nerve to seal their second consecutive win in the tournament.
"At the end, we got over the line and that's what matters," said Pollard, who stood-in for the injured Dwayne Bravo. "In the recent past, West Indies teams would have capitulated completely, so it shows we have a bit of fight and character in this side.
"We are West Indian cricketers. We attack. If we get into our shell, we get out. That's how we play cricket and it has worked for us. At the end of the day you have to back yourself. We have to be happy for victories. We cannot say we are not feeling so good because No. 10 (sic.9) and 11 got us over the line. They are batsmen in the team as well."
A modest target of 230 was made to look complicated by West Indies, who lost wickets due to extravagant strokes, despite being well ahead of the required rate. Johnson Charles, who set the platform with 97, was one of those who perished trying to clear the infield. In the end, it was a level-headed partnership of 10 runs between Roach and Best that ended India's five-match unbeaten streak in ODIs.
However, Pollard wanted his team to assess the reasons for such a tense finish. "It's just a matter of us doing the things that we haven't done so well, especially in the middle overs." he said. "As middle-order batsmen, we just have to take it upon ourselves and finish it for the team rather than letting No.10 and 11 (win the match)."
Charles anchored the innings and added 116 with Darren Bravo to give West Indies control after losing three early wickets. After a labored 29 off 58 balls in the first match against Sri Lanka, Charles was pleased to get his rhythm back, hitting eight fours and four sixes.
"I felt nice and relaxed at the crease. I was told to go out and play my natural game and that is what I did." Charles said. "In the last game I had no rhythm but this game I came out with a bit more intent and I knew exactly where I wanted to score. I played to my strengths and played shots according to the fields India set".
On a damp wicket, India lost Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli inside the first ten overs, before Rohit Sharma's eighth half-century against West Indies anchored the innings. A wayward Best returned at the death to claim the important wicket of India captain MS Dhoni first and Ravindra Jadeja in his next over.
"We bowled well against the Indians and reduced them to a score we knew we could chase down," Charles said. "The pitch got a bit flatter and was more of a batting pitch. I would have liked to have reached three figures and carry my team to victory but I'm happy we made it two wins in a row."
Pollard said he felt little pressure on his captaincy debut. "At the start of the game, there wasn't any pressure. It came later on when we were trying to win the game." he said. "We have experienced guys in the side, who have captained West Indies before, who have played all over the world and their knowledge was always going to help me go about the task of trying to lead West Indies."