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West Indies move into Super Six after winning 4 in 4

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When was the last time you saw West Indies openers notch up a score in excess of 80 inside ten overs? Especially, in an ODI game? This dream-like scenario came true at Harare as Chris Gayle and his protégé- Evin Lewis, finally came good in tandem, tethering a clueless Dutch attack, sending Van Meekeren and Borren to all sides of the ground.
An astonishing 6 sixes had been struck inside 9 overs with the Windies making most of a toss they lost, quite similar to their triumph against Ireland a couple of days ago.
Being put into bat doesn’t hurt West Indies that much, does it?
Unleashing themselves on Netherland’s bowlers akin to a merciless shark on tiny little fish, the West Indies were on March 12- very much an outfit an absolute orchestration of team effort produces. Extending a raw deal to balls pitched short, especially outside off, while Gayle was delighted to free his arms and flex some muscle, Lewis was particularly strong, square on the off side, an area he likes scoring in with child-like enthusiasm.
By the time the first wicket came, the Dutch had already undergone a session of extreme torment: 8.3 overs presenting a whopping 85 runs. Even as Shimron Hetmyer- 127 and 36 in previous games had an off day with the bat and Hope lost his wicket to perhaps the straightest of van der Merwe’s deliveries, an experienced old-guard came to the party.
Samuels was among runs, finally when it mattered the most
Marlon Samuels was there till the end and struck an almost career-rescuing 73.  Seemingly making most of his sloppiness in the current series, where his personal best has been a pale 24 against PNG, Samuels accumulated runs, rotated the strike well and hung around during a difficult period that saw quick wickets of Holder and Hope.
In playing an important rescue effort, stitching a useful 99-run partnership with Rovman Powell, Samuels struck brisk shots through the covers and ran with peculiar enthusiasm, hitherto unseen in the series.
Powell steps in to consolidate scoring
While Samuels was often content in simply converting ones into twos, the big shots belonged to Powell. In bringing up yet another useful score, a promising 52 off 38, Rovman was particularly strong straight down the ground. It seemed he picked from where he’d left against Ireland in that amazing 101. The last 13 overs of a rain-affected 48 over game produced 104 runs, most noticeably through Powell’s 3 massive sixes, among them a huge heave over the extra cover region, a part of the ground close to 90m in boundary.
The Dutch didn’t have a dream start before the middle order chipped in
For any side, including prominent A-list ICC sides, being asked to chase 310 off 48 overs poses an incredible challenge. This, then was The Netherlands, not a side you hear entering copious record books with illustrious batting efforts. Even then, the Dutch tried to hang around for a bat, even managing to conjure a vital 113-run stand in the middle.
But before an impressive partnership between opener Wesley Barresi and Ryan ten Doeschate- a stand full of character and great promise- threatened to take the game away from the West Indies, there were run-outs.
In fact, shockers that ran down the Dutch in the form of unexpected run-outs.
How many times has a scorecard revealed both openers dismissed by way of run-outs? There are a few things which only the Dutch can manage. For instance managing a 113 run partnership off merely 17 overs when it looked the West Indies might stump the Dutch away.
It wasn’t that the Windies bowlers didn’t try to reciprocate the dubious ability of their counterparts by aiding the scoring through extras; Netherlands conceding 28 and Windies 23 before the rain-curtailed encounter was impacted, the Dutch embraced a momentary lapse of reason one too many.
Their steady run-chase going well over 6 an over by the time the 24th over had begun was on the money before Barressi attempted to take an extra run off the deep against Lewis’ strong arm; the throw to the non-strikers end disturbing the timber with the righter hander a yard shy of the wickets.
Next up, the captain, Borren, who could only add one was run out by Nurse excellently. This dismissal- equivalent of a brain-fade moment- came off a no-ball. Who wants to return to the pavilion when it’s a free-hit? From thereon, great fielding teaming up with the brilliant Kesrick Williams delivering a peach of a slower delivery to get rid of Seelar, caught off Gayle for 7 meant the Dutch would be 167 down for 6.
At this stage, the chasers were 40 runs behind the D/L par score.
With the rains plundering in, it meant the West Indies had strolled to a memorable victory
With 4 wins from as many games, the real challenge for the West Indies now begins having entered the Super Six Stage. While thankfully, 4 of their batsmen- Gayle, Hetmyer, Lewis, and Powell- seem to be in some touch, the onus is to keep going and adding to their tally of victories. It isn’t every day that Windies scale back to back triumphs. Now that they are in the midst of an arresting contest, they should continue their victory march. But will it be easy considering Zimbabwe are peaking and Afghanistan have luckily scrapped in as well?

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