Reaction as West Indies beat the United Arab Emirates by six wickets on Sunday (15th March) in Napier, New Zealand.
After leading his team to victory over the UAE, West Indies captain Jason Holder defended the unity of his squad following a brief, on-field skirmish with former captain Darren Sammy.
Holder handed the ball to Sammy in the 31st over, but decided to replace him with Dwayne Smith after one over that yielded just four runs.
From the look of it, that did not go well with Sammy but Holder described the incident as nothing more than ‘banter’.
Holder’s had earlier taken 4-27 during an unchanged spell of 10 overs that reduced UAE to 46-6.
When asked about the incident, the 23-year-old Barbadian said: “We just had a little banter on the field.
“We just wanted to have some fun, and unfortunately it didn’t look the way it seemed, but we were all good. We are very good mates, and we just had a little tussle there.
— Darren Sammy (@darrensammy88) March 15, 2015
“It’s just part of the game. It’s not a crucial game, but at the end of the day, we still smile together.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more from the guys. It was a must-win game and we had to win by a big margin and the way the guys came out and played cricket I can’t ask for much more.”
Holder was delighted everything went according to the plan, including winning the toss, and of getting the UAE on the backfoot as soon as possible by taking early wickets.
“Yeah, it was important for us. I always wanted to bowl first and to get the runs as quickly as possible, and it just fell into place today,” said Holder.
“It’s my third four-wicket haul in international cricket, and I haven’t really been able to break that barrier. But, I did it for the team, which was important.”
In life these things happen. Give thanks and be thankful for what you have.… https://t.co/IxI0sv9K7c
— Jason Holder (@Jaseholder98) March 15, 2015
Holder hopes Chris Gayle will return for their quarter-final match after sitting out their win over the UAE with a sore back.
“Chris had the same back problems over the last year and sometimes he has good days, sometimes he has bad days,” informed Holder.
“Obviously he’s a key player for us and his fitness is key going into the quarter-final. I’m sure he will be up for it even if he is not a hundred percent. It’s an important game and he’s a big-game player, and you know what someone like him can do on big days.”
Following their exit from the 2015 Cricket World Cup, UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir was left pondering the possibilities that could have transformed a ‘satisfactory performance’ into an unforgettable campaign for his team.
The least experienced side in the tournament, UAE failed to win a single match in the group stage, although they did play well in parts of games and there were several good individual performances in the side.
And even in their final defeat to the West Indies, Tauqir’s men did well to fight back from a precarious position of 46-6.
“We know we could have done better than this, especially in our batting department, but overall it was a satisfactory performance. I think it was not as consistent as it should have been,” said Tauqir while reflecting on his team’s World Cup efforts.
“I think even today 250-plus runs would have been a very challenging total for West Indies.
— Joy Chakravarty (@TheJoyOfCricket) March 14, 2015
“Of course there were a few positives. Amjad [Javed] and Shaiman [Anwar] did very well consistently throughout the tournament. [Mohammad] Naveed was good and Swapnil [Patil] played a very good knock against South Africa.
“Overall, our bowling department was pretty consistent in every game. I think we need to make a little bit of improvement in our fielding and batting departments but we take a lot of positives from the whole event, and it was overall a good learning experience for us.”
When quizzed about his favourite moment in the six pool stage matches, and the most challenging one, Tauqir said: “I think overall the whole tournament has been very, very special for the whole team. But the one moment that would have changed the game was I think Kevin O’Brien’s catch that got dropped. If that catch would have been taken, we would have definitely won that game.
“As for challenging, facing up to Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel bowling short-pitched stuff into our body was the toughest.
— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) March 14, 2015
“At the same time, I’m also very thankful to them for bowling the way they bowled to us. By facing them it gave us a lot of confidence. I think that innings was a highlight for us, and we almost played 48 overs in that match [against] the most hostile bowling that we have faced in this tournament.”
And Tauqir, the oldest player in the tournament alongside teammate Khurram Khan at 43, said he has had not thought of quitting cricket.
“I don’t know about Khurram, but I think we have done a lot of hard work during the last eight to 10 months in preparation of this tournament, and I feel pretty fit,” said the off-spinner.
“I would definitely like to continue playing as long as I’m enjoying the game, and I think so would Khurram.”
The UAE team have a day-long stopover in Melbourne tomorrow and are expected to land in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday morning.