45th over: West Indies 292-7 (Pooran 108, Cottrell 0) The job is far from done for Pooran and he knows it, hammering Udana’s short ball into the stands for SIX MORE! Ten off it keeps them with the rate, the equation now 47 from 30. Yes, he lost Allen during that over but Corrtell just needs to give Pooran the strike.
Nicholas Pooran to his first international century!
With one around the corner from the ball after the mix-up, he’s through for his first ton in the top flight in 92 balls. He’s turned a lot of heads in this World Cup. As far as the West Indies are concerned, with this young left hander the future is now.
WICKET! Allen run out [Rajitha] 51 (West Indies 282-7)
OH NO!!! Allen glanced Udana to short fine leg and there looked to be a single on offer; Pooran certainly thought so, taking off and calling him through. But Allen didn’t run! By the time he was forced to, the throw was over the bails at the non-strikers’ end. A brilliant innings ends, the second dreadful run out of this chase.
Fabian Allen to 50 in 30 balls!
44th over: West Indies 282-6 (Pooran 99, Allen 51) Outstanding from Allen! He brings up his half-century with one to cover after SMASHING RAJITHA BACK OVER HIS HEAD FOR SIX! Doing as they needed through the rest, helped by a ball adjudged outside of the tramtracks, they get 11 off it now leaving 57 from 36!
The Women’s Ashes begins tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting down to Leicester in the morning for that. The first of three ODIs in the multi-format series.
43rd over: West Indies 271-6 (Pooran 97, Allen 43) The camera is permanently trained on Rhianna in the crowd, who is loving this over with Allen executing a delicate and delightful late cut that splits short third and backward point. You get four for that. You also get four when short fine leg lets the ball go through his legs, Rajitha the culprit on the edge of the circle. Nine from the over; the required rate 9.71. Or at this stage, better expressed by saying that they need 68 from 42 balls.
42nd over: West Indies 262-6 (Pooran 96, Allen 35) Rajitha replaces Malinga, the slinger keeping two up his sleeve for the very end. The change had the desired effect – or at least it looked that way until the penultimate delivery, Allen again timing the pants off a short ball over midwicket. It was touch and go whether it went the full journey, the TV umpire siding with the fielding side. Seven off it, which is a good outcome for Sri Lanka but they really do need a wicket now. “To me,” says Ian Bishop, “Fabian Allan is a batsmen who bowls,”
Meanwhile. “A pair of pliers, eh?” writes Damian Clarke, linking to this iconic scene in reference to how Jason Roy might be kept from fielding next time. Okay.
41st over: West Indies 255-6 (Pooran 94, Allen 30) Karunaratne held Dhananjaya back for one final over and it isn’t going as planned, Pooran launching a long hop with the wind over the sponge for SIX! That’s his third big one. Three dot balls follow then a bottom edge that goes through the legs of the ‘keeper Perera for four more! Dhananjaya finishes with 0/49, his tenth going for 11. 84 from 54 needed.
40th over: West Indies 244-6 (Pooran 83, Allen 30) Forget what I said about Malinga when he came back into the attack, Allen is having a grand old time facing the old man of this Sri Lankan side. From the first ball of his eighth over the No8 is once again steady enough to stand still and smash through the gap to the extra cover boundary. With six further runs in 1s and 2s, they get to the of this stanza of the chase with two set players at the crease with 95 to get from ten overs. Suddenly, this feels very doable. Allen has made it to 30 from just 20 balls.
39th over: West Indies 234-6 (Pooran 81, Allen 22) Nine more over Udana here, which keeps the required rate just the right side of ten as far as the chasers are concerned. Allen’s third four was his best yet, waiting deep in the crease for the slower ball to arrive, flat-batting it through the gap at cover. From the final ball it should have been another, getting the full toss away through square leg, but Thirimanne made a brilliant diving stop on the rope to save one run. It might be worth thinking about getting near a TV in half an hour or so.
38th over: West Indies 225-6 (Pooran 80, Allen 14) Fabian Allen taking down Malinga? Okay, I’ll have a bit of that. Getting down to a ball on the stumps, he flicks him into the square leg umpire into the gap for four early on. A fine shot. Later on, it is stand and deliver stuff through midwicket for another! I was cynical about West Indies’ lower-order prospects given the way they folded against India but with these two there is still hope for something of a grandstand finish.
“Chances of the Windies playing an iconic thriller is directly proportional to the presence of Ian Bishop in the commentary box,” suggests OB Jato. Let’s hope.
“Your reply to John Starbuck immediately prompted thoughts of the dressing room at Durham during the interval after England have already batted vs NZ.” emails Brian Withington. “Jason Roy offers a sacrificial pinkie to his squeamish opening partner holding the pliers with the encouraging words, ‘Just imagine it’s Michael Vaughan’s tweeting finger’.”
37th over: West Indies 213-6 (Pooran 80, Allen 4) Udana continues with the better part of ten runs an over to play with and keeps Allen down the business end more often than not. But getting an opportunity from the final ball Poortan finds a way to the rope, albeit via an outside edge to the vacant third man. It’ll do at this stage.
36th over: West Indies 207-6 (Pooran 75, Allen 3) Malinga has half of his five overs left, which increases yet futher the degree of difficulty on Pooran and co. Of course, he was too good earlier for Ambris and Hope. Pooran is lucky to survive the first ball of the new spell, trying to lift him straight but miscuing high to where long-off would have running in from there been one. The real quiz is when Fabien Allen is on strike but he’s through to the next round, keeping out a couple of accurate yorkers to finish.
“Amusing as it as to recall the events of the summer of 2005,” begins Chris Howell, “I can’t help feeling that references to Ricky Ponting being run out by Gary Pratt should note that he was on the field because Simon Jones’ Test career had been ended by injury. I think he managed a handful of domestic T20s, but it was a sad end for someone who had become an excellent bowler.”
I didn’t clock that the two events were linked. I won’t forget his spell on that opening morning at Lord’s (a ticket I picked up for 300 quid as a 20-year-old on my dad’s credit card without telling him; good form as a backpacker), getting Damien Martyn first ball (his second reference here today, too) with a perfect outswinger.
35th over: West Indies 200-6 (Pooran 71, Allen 0) Pooran, still on strike of course, collects one behind square to being up the West Indies’ 200. They need 139 off 90, which is a huge task even before considering that the No5 is now with the bowlers.
WICKET! Brathwaite run out [Udana] 7 (West Indies 199-6)
Just at the moment West Indies fans had the right to get excited, Brathwaite is out in the most unfortunate way. Pooran, after glancing Udana for four, smashed the left-hander back at him but he got his middle finger on the straight drive in his follow through, reflecting onto the non-striker stumps with Brathwaite stranded.
34th over: West Indies 194-5 (Pooran 66, Brathwaite 7) GAME ON? Probably not yet but Nick Pooran is going beautifully, don’t worry about that. Since flicking the switch about six overs ago, he’s done enough to maintain the required rate of nine an over, helped by 15 off this one. Rajitha is the offending bowler, slapped over midwicket by the classy left hander when too full then launching an off-cutter over the boundary in the same direction, into the crowd FOR SIX.
Pooran to 50!
33rd over: West Indies 179-5 (Pooran 53, Brathwaite 6) Nearly another run out, but we’ll come to that in a moment. Karunaratne at last replaced Vandersay… with his own mediums/filth. When lobbing down a full toss at Pooran, he quite rightly put it into the stands to bring up his half-century in 57 balls. He’s been tip top. But from the final ball Brathwaite should have been run out – the second man to cut and run to backward point. This time the thow wasn’t on song, so he surives.
“For their final number,” John Starbuck says of any cricket bat guitar competition, “the bat-guitarists should have to play either Link Wray’s ‘Rumble’ or Love Sculpture’s ‘Sabredance’.”
On related matters, I’m not sure how many readers today tuned in when we broadcast the Australia vs Pakistan Tests last year, but our producer Andrew Donnison (who I refer to in the above) was the Canberra air guitar champion in 2008 and 2009. I wouldn’t say I was his campaign manager per se, but I did get him on page three of the Sydney Morning Herald.
32nd over: West Indies 172-5 (Pooran 46, Brathwaite 6) Rajitha has done plenty right, for mine. He’s not helped by Perera, who gives up a couple of byes when misreading his slower ball after Pooran did the same, but only two singles comes from the bat. That is drinks with 167 further runs needed in 18 overs.
“Hello Adam.” Hi Aditi. “Second you on The Beths love. I think I had Happy Unhappy on loop for an hour at least. That NZ-Pak OBO evening was magical.”
Yes, my most enjoyable stint of the comp. Let’s give them another go, shall we?
31st over: West Indies 168-5 (Pooran 45, Brathwaite 5) I’m all about Nick Pooran stroking his way to a ton in a losing effort here. Realistically, he needs Brathwaite to bat with him for 15 overs and that probably won’t happen. So the next best option is this. Another four comes for the left-hander here, via a half-tracker gifted to him by the hapless Vandersay. Remarkably, he’s now bowled seven overs.
“Thanks, David Lombard (17th over),” writes Smylers. “That answer’s my 6-year-old’s question of why the ICC’s Kids Handbook of the tournament uses ‘Windies’ throughout. Relatedly, anybody know why teams’ kit launches have to be so close to the first match? It seems odd that an official publication can’t show the kits. It’s particularly noticeable in photos of England players, wearing the wrong colour.”
30th over: West Indies 159-5 (Pooran 38, Brathwaite 5) Rajitha is back, leaving one for Dhananjaya later on. He’s not giving much away early in the over until overstepping. Urgh! The free hit doesn’t go anywhere but Brathwaite strikes a perfetly timed straight drive to finish. Shot. They needed exactly nine an over.
29th over: West Indies 152-5 (Pooran 37, Brathwaite 1) Perhaps sensing that if he wants to make a significant contribution on the scorecard he will have to get real busy and fast, Pooran nails another boundary later in the successful Vandersay over, smashing it past the bowler. This has been a ropey old spell, it must be said.
WICKET! Holder c (sub!!!!) J Mendis b Vandersay 26 (West Indies 145-5)
Another shoddy dismissal from Holder. The West Indies skipper has racked up a few of those in this World Cup. He’s gutted as he walks off and understandably so, picking out mid-on like it is catching practice. He half-hit it and paid the price. And yes, channeling the OBO, it was the sub-fielder who took the catch.
28th over: West Indies 143-4 (Pooran 30, Holder 26) Three fours in three overs for Pooran, cutting Dhananjaya with class behind point into a gap that barely exists. Into the 30s he goes. Could this be the day he converts one of these handy starts?
27th over: West Indies 137-4 (Pooran 25, Holder 25) Pooran was everyone’s favourite new player in this competition before Avishka Fernando replaced him. He’s going very nicely now, though, pulling Vandersay away for another four.
“Along the same lines as the Umpires performance determining who makes it the knockout stages, what about the performance of the Bat-Guitarists?” asks Nick Toovey, astutely. “Who makes the cut? Shall we stage The Six-Factor before the semi-finals, with the cricket bat guitarists playing to an AI Machine. The guitarists with the most amount of songs recognised from the reverb-heavy Tannoy gets the coveted gig. And in the style of Match Of The Day presenters for the World Cup Final, I want to see them dressed up uncomfortably in a Suit and Tie for the big occasion, maybe with a top-hat like Slash.”
This is an important question. The sort of question that I can probably get to the bottom of given my day job. I’ll ping a message to the ICC comms team. Stand by.
26th over: West Indies 132-4 (Pooran 21, Holder 24) For the second time in three overs, the third umpire is asked to check off Perera has whipped the bails off in time but Pooran has kept his toe down on this occasion. Sanga on TV gives a technical explanation of why he didn’t get down with his gloves in time. I won’t try and repeat it but I will note that the former Sri Lankan great is one of the best additions to the TV commentary box in recent times. He’s very clever. Before his bat was beaten, Pooran struck a fine on-drive down the ground for four.
25th over: West Indies 126-4 (Pooran 16, Holder 23) Vandersay isn’t posing any real problems, even delivery of this is fourth over scored off. Sri Lanka are getting through their overs and have plenty to defend but these two look relatively set.
24th over: West Indies 119-4 (Pooran 13, Holder 19) Just three singles from Dhananjaya’s seven over. He has figures of 0/26. They now need 8.5 an over.
23rd over: West Indies 116-4 (Pooran 10, Holder 19) IS HOLDER STUMPED? He is not. Clever ‘keeping from Perera to wait for the captain’s foot to possibly lift off the turf ofter Vandersay beat the bat, but he kept his toe down. A better over from the legspinner, who has settled from his early nerves by the looks. Oh, ignore me – there is a full toss. Holder tucks in, placing it to the cover point rope.
“Afternoon.” Hi Matthew Potter. “Just wanted to say a huge YES to the Sports Team love, great band. That’s all.” I do enjoy the sharing of OBO music. Last week, when we were talking about Kiwk bands, I was sent The Beths and I haven’t turned them off since. And helpfully, they are touring England during the Ashes.
22nd over: West Indies 111-4 (Pooran 9, Holder 15) Dhananjaya is back, to make it spin from both ends. His is of the more probing variety but now Holder has his eye in, he clips well through midwicket past the man inside the circle for four. Very nice timing from the skipper. The required rate is now above eight an over.
21st over: West Indies 105-4 (Pooran 8, Holder 10) Uh oh! Vandersay, who bowled four half-trackers last time around, begins with another that Holder has enough time to almost drive past the man at the short fine leg for four. The leggie fights back with some deliveries that are right on the mark, but Holder adds another boundary with a miscued drive past point. Sangakkara is talking him up through the over on TV and he slowly improves through the course of it.
20th over: West Indies 94-4 (Pooran 7, Holder 5) Shot. Rajitha is in the game, once again beating the captain’s bat, but Holder gets up one up on him with a lovely drive on the up through the gap at extra cover for four. A most attractive player.
“Oh, I do like the specialist fielder idea,” writes Ethan Forbes, who got us on this topic to begin. “Although for maximum bizarreness it needs to be implemented like the designated hitter in major league baseball, where half of the teams play by one set of substitution rules and the others have their own. When teams with different rules meet the home team’s rules are in effect. This is why I love cricket, and sport in general. Simple ideas get convoluted so quickly. It’s like politics, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. And the notion that fielding is somehow not as important as batting and bowling? There’s another thing to borrow from the lesser bat and ball sport. Any grizzled old ball coach will tell you, between spurts of tobacco juice, that ‘games are won by pitching and defense.’”
We also have an answer on the West Indies/Windies name, via the ever-reliable Abhijato Sensarma. “A few months ago, Mr Skerritt said that the fans had overwhelmingly asked the board to revert back to using the team’s original name. As a result, they took the decision to ‘selectively use’ the term Windies for commercial purposes; otherwise, they’re back to officially being the good ol’ West Indies.” Okay, that makes sense. A compromise that I can live with.
19th over: West Indies 88-4 (Pooran 6, Holder 1) Jeffrey Vandersay, starts with two
nervous shockers. The first ball from the leggie is a long way outside off and the second in that direction nearly lands off the pitch and is rightly called as a wide. He gets better, Pooran playing the flighted deliveries with respect; Holder happy to pick out the square leg sweeper. It’s an unforgiving craft. A small victory to finish though, the new man winning Holder’s inside edge.