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HomefirstcricketCharting West Indies' steady decline across ICC white-ball events post-2016

Charting West Indies’ steady decline across ICC white-ball events post-2016

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West Indies miss ODI World Cup: Charting the Men-in-Maroon’s steady decline in ICC white-ball events since 2016

West Indies failed to reach the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time in its 48-year history with a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Scotland in the Super Six stage of the Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

FirstCricket Staff July 03, 2023 03:36:11 IST West Indies miss ODI World Cup: Charting the Men-in-Maroon's steady decline in ICC white-ball events since 2016

Despite fielding a star-studded side, the Kieron Pollard-led West Indian team would lose four out of five matches in the group stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. Reuters

The West Indies cricket team hit rock bottom on Saturday when they failed to qualify for the ICC ODI World Cup for the first time since the tournament began 48 years ago.

The side that won the first two editions under Clive Lloyd’s leadership and finished runners-up in the third were eliminated from contention for the remaining two spots for the showpiece event that takes place in India later this year.

Though they failed to secure automatic qualification for a second consecutive edition, West Indies, along with fellow former champions Sri Lanka, entered the Qualifier as strong favourites to clinch the top two spots. And they began with convincing victories over the United States and Nepal before hitting a roadblock with defeats against hosts Zimbabwe and Netherlands. The Dutch managed to tie the game while chasing 375 and ended up winning the Super Over in style.

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Scotland, the team that West Indies had bundled out for 68 the first time they met in the 1999 World Cup, would then land the knockout punch. Unlike Zimbabwe and Netherlands, Scotland cruised their way to the target after bowling Windies out for a sub-par 181 in what was a role-reversal of sorts.

The decline of the West Indies team though, is hardly a new phenomenon. West Indies gradually began to lose their venom from the mid-1990s and it only intensified at the turn of the millennium. There was a brief period of revival when the side won two T20 World Cups under Daren Sammy’s leadership in 2012 and 2016. That phase of success, however, couldn’t lead to a long-term revival and their fortunes only nosedived from thereon.

Here, we take a look at their performances in ICC white-ball events in the aftermath of their second World T20 title in India seven years back:

2017 Champions Trophy: Failed to qualify

A little over a year after their memorable triumph over England in the World T20 final at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, West Indies failed to make the cut for the 2017 Champions Trophy in England. The same event that they had won in 2004 and finished runners-up in on two occasions.

Windies, however, had been eliminated from the eight-team event even before a ball was bowled in the 2016 World T20. While England qualified as hosts, the remaining seven teams qualified on the basis of their rankings in the ICC ODI Championship with the cut-off date being 30 September, 2015.

2019 ODI World Cup: Group Stage

West Indies had to take the Qualifier route for the first time in the history of the ODI World Cup in the 2019 edition in England. They topped the Super Six stage of the Qualifiers that took place in 2018, and qualified along with Afghanistan.

The West Indians began the tournament with a bang, thrashing Pakistan by seven wickets after bundling them out for a paltry 105, but would fail to win another game until their very last match against Afghanistan, by which time they had already been eliminated from semi-final contention. They finished ninth out of 10 teams with two wins, six defeats with one game washed out.

2021 T20 World Cup: Super 12s

West Indies entered the T20 World Cup in the UAE that was taking place after a gap of five years as the defending champions, and were up against England — the team they had beaten in the final — in their opening fixture.

The expectations from the Kieron Pollard-led side that had retained Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and host of other stars that had formed the core of the twin-triumphs in the previous decade, were sky high.

Their meek surrender of the explosive West Indian batters at the hands of the English attack, though, gave a fair indication of what their campaign would be like that year. The West Indians would go on to win just one out of five games, beating Bangladesh by three runs, and finish second from bottom in their six-team group.

It would also be the last time that the cream of West Indies’ golden T20 generation would play together in a world event as the likes of Gayle and Bravo would make their final appearance for the West Indians in this tournament.

2022 T20 World Cup: Qualifiers

If the 2021 edition was bad for West Indies, the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia was infinitely worse.

Not only were the two-time champions made to play the Qualifiers after failing to secure automatic qualification, they ended up losing two out of three matches and failed to reach the Super 12s for the first time in the history of the tournament; not very different from what transpired in Zimbabwe in recent weeks.

The Nicholas Pooran-led side were outplayed by Scotland and Ireland in Group B. George Munsey (66 not out) and Mark Watt (3/12) led the way in the first game as Scotland posted 160/5 before bowling Windies out for 118. The Irish were even more clinical, with Paul Stirling’s unbeaten 66 helping them chase the 147-run target down with nine wickets and 15 balls to spare.

Their only bright spot in what was otherwise a sorry campaign was that they got to fly back to their respective islands with a win under their belt, beating Zimbabwe by 31 runs.

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