Carlos Brathwaite admitted his maiden international hundred was a “bittersweet” feeling after falling agonisingly short of leading the West Indies to an against-all-odds World Cup victory.
The Windies slumped to 164 for seven against New Zealand in pursuit of a target of 292 at Old Trafford, but that merely set the stage for Brathwaite, who bludgeoned nine fours and five sixes in a staggering 80-ball hundred.
However, with six needed for victory, Brathwaite swung mightily again, only to hole out to long-on, where Trent Boult held on to the catch and avoided stepping over the boundary as the Kiwis escaped with a five-run win.
Following his supreme 101, Brathwaite said: “Everyone believed that we could get over the line.
“It’s obviously bittersweet. I know it’s probably cliche to say the hundred doesn’t matter if you don’t win.
“But for me personally, for my confidence, I guess as a result of all the hard work I’ve been putting in, it’s finally good that it’s come to fruition.
Thriller all the way to the end!💔 Despite the loss, WI continue to #Rally— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) 22 June 2019
New Zealand win by 5 runs.
🇳🇿 291/8 (50.0 ov)
🌴 286/10 (49.0 0v)
Scorecard: https://t.co/0pVUYZxI77 #cwc19 pic.twitter.com/67TzXYzhlh
“I’ll continue to work hard, obviously devastated not to get over the line, but also I give thanks for the performance and even getting the team into a position that we got into before I got out.
“It’s heartbreaking to get so close and not get over the line, but there were some positives and I think that the fight that the lower order showed was commendable.
“I thought I had enough bat on (the delivery that got him out). I was just willing it to go up and up and up.
“Unfortunately it didn’t, they probably had one of the better fielders in the world down there. It is what it is. One or two yards more we’d have been victorious.”
The Windies suffered a fourth consecutive defeat and, in all likelihood, their hopes of reaching the knockout stages are all but over as the Kiwis moved to the top of the standings.
Kane Williamson’s sublime 148 from 154 balls had taken them to 291 for eight on a challenging surface, with a 160-run partnership alongside Ross Taylor (69 off 95) forming the bedrock of their innings.
Some mighty blows from Chris Gayle, in an 84-ball 87, and Shimron Hetmyer, who hit 54 from 45 deliveries, kept the Windies up with the run-rate, but Boult’s four for 30 undermined their pursuit.
"I'm going to say that was pretty cool to watch."— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) 23 June 2019
Even Trent Boult could only stand and admire when Carlos Brathwaite was doing his thing - that is, before he got the opportunity to take the match-winning catch!
Here's how he describes the pressure moment.#CWC19 pic.twitter.com/Am9daO9yWG
The Blackcaps did not count on Brathwaite’s tour de force display, but Boult had the final say.
He said of his catch: “It was a pressure situation, I guess. Initially I thought it was going to be quite a way inside the rope, but almost driven for six in the end, but nice to snaffle it.
“And what a game. Simple as that, really.”
Scraping past the Windies in Manchester follows narrow wins over Bangladesh and South Africa, with Boult sure those on the other side of the world are enjoying following their fortunes.
He added: “It’s a bit special. It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster sitting there with the pads at times and then being under the pump there with the ball.
“It’s what it’s all about. It’s awesome to be a part of it. And I’m sure there will be a lot of proud Kiwis back home, diving into poached eggs, watching a result like that.”
Kedar Jadhav has defended India’s middle-order batting after their tense 11-run World Cup victory over Afghanistan in Southampton.
Mohammed Shami bagged a final-over hat-trick and Jasprit Bumrah plundered two crucial wickets as the pace attack dug India out of jail on the south coast.
Jadhav hit 52 and captain Virat Kohli 67 as India mustered a miserly 224 for eight from their full 50 overs, only for Afghanistan to fall just shy of what would have proved a famous upset.
India played an attacking shot to just 24% of the balls they faced from overs 41-44. No team in this World Cup has played a lower percentage of attacking shots in the first four overs of the death overs of the innings. #CWC19 #IndvAfg— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) June 22, 2019
Jadhav insisted however that the Hampshire Bowl pitch played a crucial role in the low-scoring affair, despite India still appearing to keep their powder dry with the knockout stages in mind.
“When I went in to bat I felt the wicket was not on the flatter side,” said Jadhav.
“The ball was not coming that easily onto the bat so we had to take our time. And they had two or three quality spinners. And that doesn’t help when the wicket is slow.
“I think we can definitely improve on this, but I don’t see any other team having three or four quality spinners.”
Shami’s stunning hat-trick finally put paid to Afghanistan’s hopes of pulling off the mother of all World Cup shocks.
And Jadhav hailed his character for shaking off being hit for four in the first ball of that final over to recover and skittle Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in succession.
“We believe in our fast bowlers to do the job for us at the death,” said Jadhav.
“It’s about how you come back after you are hit for four. And that’s what Shami did today. That’s when character comes into play.
“The pitch was slow so it was difficult to play shots. Our actual plan was 250, but we fell short.
“We knew we’d need to make up 20 or 30 runs in the field, so credit to the bowlers for defending this total.”
Kane Williamson’s reputation as being a man for a crisis has long been known and the New Zealand skipper was it at again on Saturday with a superb century under pressure against the West Indies.
The Kiwi skipper had registered a brilliant unbeaten ton against South Africa to take his side to victory in a thrilling 2019 ICC World Cup clash recently and he followed it up with another century of the highest quality against the Windies at Old Trafford.
Williamson arrived at the crease on Saturday with his side in a spot of bother after Sheldon Cottrell removed both New Zealand openers for golden ducks in the very first over of the match.
The right-hander stabilised the Kiwi innings in the company of Ross Taylor by stitching together a 160-run stand for the third wicket before bringing up his 13th ODI hundred. Though Windies hit back with some important dismissals, Williamson continued to march on before he was dismissed for 148 by Cottrell.
It was the New Zealand skipper’s highest ODI score and it helped his side post a challenging 291-9 ultimately despite being 7-2 at one stage.
The 28-year-old’s form has been getting better with each passing match with his tournament tally now extending to 373 runs.
WILLIAMSON’S UNBEATEN RUN COMES TO AN END
Williamson’s dismissal by Cottrell in the 47th over of the New Zealand innings brought to an end to a 390-ball unbeaten run by the New Zealand stalwart.
Since being dismissed on 40 by Bangladesh’s Mehidy Hasan Miraz on June 5, Williamson had registered unbeaten scores of 79 and 106 respectively against Afghanistan and South Africa before coming into the clash against Windies.
On Saturday, his 154-ball stay at the crease meant that it had taken a total of 390 deliveries between Williamson’s two dismissals in the ongoing World Cup. In between those dismissals, a total of 213 wickets fell in the 2019 World Cup according to a statistic by The CricViz Analyst.
The right-hander has now scored a total of 373 runs in four innings in the World Cup at a staggering average of 186.50.
Since Kane Williamson was last dismissed, 213 wickets have fallen in this World Cup. #CWC19— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) June 22, 2019
WILLIAMSON’S ENGLAND LOVE AFFAIR CONTINUES
The Kiwi skipper simply loves batting in English conditions and his 148 against the Windies is now the fourth ODI century he has registered in the country in just 14 innings.
It is the joint-highest number of ODI tons scored by any visiting batsman in England and it pulls Williamson level alongside the likes of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
For reference, Williamson has scored only four ODI tons on New Zealand soil. His last 11 ODI innings have yielded scores of 148, 106, 79, 40, 57, 87, 100, 50, 90, 118 and 93.
TON AGAINST ALL-TEST PLAYING NATIONS
With his latest century against West Indies, Williamson has joined an exclusive club of batsmen who have registered centuries against all 10 Test playing nations including Afghanistan and Ireland.
He is the third New Zealand batsman to do so after Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill.
Kane Williamson became the 11th batsman to score ODI centuries against all the first 10 Test playing nations.— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) June 22, 2019
AB de Villiers
Rohit Sharma#NZvWI #CWC19