West Indies on Tuesday posted an incredible total of 421 as their batsmen put on a superb display of power-hitting in a 91-run victory over New Zealand in a World Cup warm-up game.
Shai Hope continued his fine run of form as he finished with an 86-ball 101 with nine fours and four sixes, while Andre Russell lived up to his big-hitting reputation with a breezy 25-ball 54 as they sent a warning to Pakistan ahead of their World Cup opener tomorrow.
“We’re building toward something special in the World Cup, so to get this momentum going into the first game against Pakistan is key,” Windies captain Jason Holder said. “It’s really good to see the batsmen make full use of the surface.”
After New Zealand put West Indies into bat at Bristol, England, Chris Gayle began the attack with two fours and two sixes off four consecutive deliveries from fast bowler Matt Henry.
Gayle failed to convert his start when he was removed by fast bowler Trent Boult on 36, but Hope and Evin Lewis stitched together an 84-run stand to lay the foundation for a mammoth total.
Holder (47) and Russell added 82 runs in just 39 deliveries as West Indies continued to find boundaries, despite losing their final four wickets in the last six overs.
Boult was the pick of the bowlers with 4-50, but Henry ended up conceding 107 for his two wickets.
It was always going to be a daunting total for New Zealand to chase, but losing openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls with just 28 on the board left them with a near-impossible challenge.
Kane Williamson (85) and Tom Blundell (106) put on a brilliant 120-run stand, but the rest of the Kiwis’ middle order struggled to match the scoring rate, as they were bowled out for 330.
However, Williamson took positives from stand-in wicketkeeper-batsman Blundell’s impressive innings amid injury concerns around first-choice Tom Latham.
“It was a fantastic knock coming in under a little bit of pressure in terms of 400 on the board and we were in a little bit of trouble,” Williamson said. “He obviously started well in Test cricket, but to come in and play that role where he sucked up a bit of pressure and counter-punched was a really good sign for us.”
INDIA VS BANGLADESH
India on Tuesday eased to a 95-run victory over Bangladesh in their final World Cup warm-up match after centuries from Lokesh Rahul and Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped them post a mammoth total of 359.
Bangladesh won the toss and opted to field first, but despite removing openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma cheaply, they failed to take advantage of bowler-friendly conditions in the morning session in Cardiff.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli scored 47 off 46 balls with five boundaries before Rahul and Dhoni added 164 runs in a fifth-wicket stand.
The partnership came to an end with the dismissal of Rahul, who finished with 108 off 99 balls with 12 fours and four sixes.
Rahul made the squad as a back-up opener, but he is also competing for the No. 4 spot alongside all-rounder Vijay Shankar and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik.
Former captain Dhoni reached his century off 73 balls and went on to score 113 before losing his wicket to left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan in the final over.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya made a 21-run cameo to take the total to 359-7.
Bangladesh openers Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar made a steady start to the run chase before they were rattled by Jasprit Bumrah’s double strike in the 10th over. Sarkar was caught behind for 25 and Shakib perished to a perfect yorker for a first-ball duck.
Das (73) and Mushfiqur Rahim (90) offered some resistance with a 120-run partnership for the third wicket, but they failed to step up the scoring rate against India’s wrist-spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the middle overs.
Das was dismissed by Chahal in the 32nd over, triggering a batting collapse as Bangladesh went from 169-2 to 216-8.
Both Chahal and Yadav finished with three wickets each as Bangladesh were bowled out for 264.
Kohli was pleased with his bowling unit ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa on Wednesday.
“Bumrah got us the breakthrough, and Chahal and Kuldeep got us six wickets,” he said. “In the second half [in the coming matches], the ball might turn a little bit, but initially the ball will swing and seam, which will be the most important phase.”
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