Defending world champions but languishing at the bottom of the ICC T20I team rankings, placed rock bottom 10th in the points table. Quite ironical, but indeed is the stark reality which Windies are facing in the shortest format of the game, a format they are traditionally considered best suited to and have tasted repeated success at major ICC events.
Just 2 wins in 11 T20I matches reads for an extremely dismal T2OI track record for the 'Maroon Brigade' in 2019. In 2019, the Windies have been whitewashed by India (0-3), upset by Afghanistan (1-2) and trounced by England (0-3), summing up their never ending struggles in bilateral T2OI series against T2OI teams.
The spree of below par performances of the Windies in T2O internationals can be largely attributed to a high inconsistent batting unit which has failed to deliver collectively as a unit more often than not.
Windies commanding win over India in the 2nd T20I of the 3-match series at Thiruvananthapuram was a pleasing sight for all their fans after a long long time, as a solid all-round performance saw Pollard and Co. inflict a clinical 8-wicket win over their more fancied opponents and take the ongoing series to the decider in Mumbai.
Windies batting arsenal boasts of a plethora of power hitters whose belligerent stroke play is ideally suited to the high scoring T20I format but most of them lack the application, technique and mental fortitude to deliver the goods. The fearless but reckless approach to their batting is exciting but makes them prone to self destruction in the longer run.
The Windies batting display is dotted by flashes of brilliance with quick-fire 25-30s but it is a rare sight to see any of their front-line batsman score a half ton and take their team across the line.. To be more specific, only 7 half tons have come in all in the 11 T2O encounters played by them in 2019.
A closer look at the Windies T20 batting records reveals the gloomy picture ... In 2019. with the exception of newly appointed skipper Kieron Pollard (40.4) , who finally has brought in some consistency to his batting performances, none of their other top order batsmen in Evin Lewis (24.5) Shimron Hetmeyer (14.87), Nicholas Pooran (27) and Shai Hope (16.10) average even close to the 30s.
It clearly indicates the lack to ability to build an innings and register noteworthy scores to help the team in a winning cause. While the quick-fire cameos entertain fans, they certainly don't win them matches.
*( ) - indicate batting averages
Windies Lack A Dependable Opening Combination In T20Is
Windies are surely weak at the top of the order as compared to other international teams in T20Is. With their aging batting stalwart Chris Gayle fast approaching his swansong, opener Evin Lewis lacks a dependable partner at the other end.
One cannot remember how many openers have the Windies chopped and changed over the past couple of seasons. Andre Fletcher, Chadwik Walton, Lendl Simmons and Johnson Charles all had brief spells as openers with limited success.
It is high time one of the promising young opener in either John Campbell or Brandon King steps up to the challenge and provides the opening salvo, else they may have to revert back to Lendl Simmons who has shown promise in his comeback into the national T20 set up.
Middle Order Has Big Guns But Has Been Highly Inconsistent For Long
The middle order has quite a few game changers with the willow but certainly have not performed to their potential. Explosive batsmen in Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmeyer have played match winning knocks but they have been far and few.
With experienced campaigners like Marlon Samuels and Dywane Bravo back in the hut; and Darren Bravo and Shai Hope continuing to underperform in T20Is, the young brigade needs to assume more responsibility and show more resolve, purpose in their method to madness.
Power Hitting - Windies Biggest Weapon in Batting Arsenal
Windies most lethal dimension to their power packed batting unit are the power hitters down the order who can unleash brutal carnage to win them matches. Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Rowman Powell and even Jason Holder can all change the fortunes of a game with some lusty blows in a blink of an eye. However, to give them a realistic chance to be at their destructive best, the Windies top order needs to fire consistently and provide them with platform to build upon.
Windies batting needs to compliment their bowling which after a long time seems to have gelled well as a unit. The T20 bowling attack has firepower, depth and variation with handy seamers in Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Andre Russell and Jason Holder.
Keemo Paul, Kersick Williams and Kieron Pollard add a bit of subtle variation with their medium pace and spinners in Hayden Walsh, Khary Pierre and Fabien Allen give the attack a bit of variety.
With less than a year to go for the ICC T2O World Cup in Australia, the defending world champions need to pull up their socks with more meaty and consistent batting performances to challenge formidable teams like Australia, New Zealand, India and England, who could well prove to be their biggest challengers in the showpiece event 'Down Under' next year.