The West Indies are one of the more unpredictable teams heading into the 2019 World Cup, which will cap the career of one of their finest players.
Chris Gayle will bow out after the tournament, bringing an end to an illustrious 20 years in the ODI format. The 39-year-old will be desperate to bow out on a high note by winning the competition for his country for the first time since 1979.
The Windies do not have a great record in the tournament, and have not reached the semi-finals in 23 years. They do have prowess in England having won the Champions Trophy in 2004, but the majority of their success has come in the 20-over format rather than the ODI arena of late.
They’ve not won a bilateral one-day series since 2014 and struggle against elite competition, especially on tour. The Windies did produce a fine performance on home soil to earn a draw against England in their series, battling back twice from behind.
Jason Holder’s men will need that spirit and a whole lot more to have a hope of reaching the knockout phase of the World Cup.
Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.
The West Indies have not been overly competitive at the World Cup in recent history. They won the first two tournaments between 1975 and 1979, but since then they’ve not managed to reach the final. Four years ago they battled their way out of the group stage, only to be crushed by New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
It was the same story in 2011, although on that occasion the Windies were blown away by Pakistan. Holder’s men have not been able to compete with the leading teams in the world, which is why they were forced to advance through the qualifiers.
They were good enough to qualify for the tournament, although they were unable to defeat Afghanistan in the 2018 qualifier final, losing by seven wickets. It does not bode well for their hopes in the World Cup, although there is talent in the squad. Gayle is capable of taking apart any bowling attack in the world.
Shai Hope is an exciting prospect and has proven calibre in English conditions. Sheldon Cottrell posed England problems in their series earlier this year, while Kemar Roach has the express pace required to unsettle opposing batsmen. There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of depth to challenge for the crown, although the Windies have shocked the world before.
Chris Gayle – Gayle has the ability to blast the Windies to imposing totals with relative ease. In his last major tournament the 39-year-old will be determined to prove his quality one final time at the crease. He belongs up there with the modern-day greats of the Windies’ game.
There have been elements of criticism for the boom-or-bust nature of his play and his inability to run between the wickets. However, should he get going at the top of the order, Gayle can build a platform for his team-mates to play around him.
With him alone they can match the scoring power of the elite teams in the competition. Gayle does give his side hope of competing with the best as their draw against England proved. Back him to lead the run column for the Windies at odds of 5/23.50+2502.502.50-0.40 with Bet365.
The 30-year-old has a solid record in his 85 ODI matches, taking 117 wickets at an average of 30.21. Roach missed the series against England, but he returned to action ahead of the tournament against Ireland and Bangladesh.
The Windies missed their leader against the Three Lions, and although he was not operating at the peak of his powers, Roach is still worthy of his place in the side. He is capable of making serious inroads at the top of the order, which could swing matches in the favour of Holder’s men.
Back Roach to play an important role in the tournament for the Windies, leading the wicket column. He has decent value at 7/24.50+3503.503.50-0.29 to be the leading wicket taker with Bet365.
The Windies are an unpredictable outfit, but their form in the one-day arena does not suggest that they are capable of mounting a charge for the crown. The one-off nature of the matches may allow Holder’s men to snatch a victory or two against the leading teams in the competition.
Gayle’s presence could loom large and he will be determined not to go out quietly. Expect some fireworks from the 39-year-old, while Hope has the ability to make his mark in the tournament. However, the bowling options for the Windies are not the best.
Roach is a good player, but there’s not a great balance in the line-up. There is no quality spin option to alleviate the pressure on the quick bowlers, who could face punishment in the opening overs.
The Windies will have to operate at a high level for at least five of their nine matches to have a hope of reaching the semi-finals. They’ve not been able to accomplish that level of form in the last five years. Therefore back them to be eliminated at the group stage at odds of 2/51.40-2500.40-2.500.40 with Bet365.