ICC World Cup 2015: West Indies target New Zealand batting in likely showdown
West Indies captain Jason Holder praised his team`s effort in the do-or-die clash against United Arab Emirates on Sunday and will next look to target the batting of likely World Cup quarter-final opponents New Zealand in Wellington next week.
Wellington: West Indies captain Jason Holder praised his team`s effort in the do-or-die clash against United Arab Emirates on Sunday and will next look to target the batting of likely World Cup quarter-final opponents New Zealand in Wellington next week.
West Indies have virtually secured a spot in the knockout stage, presuming the Pakistan-Ireland match in Adelaide does not end in a tie, and are set to finish fourth in Pool B following their six-wicket win over UAE in Napier.
"I couldn`t ask for anything more. It was a must-win and we had to win by a big margin," Holder told reporters at McLean Park. "The way the guys came out and played cricket today I can`t say much more."
West Indies had been facing elimination if they could not secure a large win on Sunday.
Holder and Jerome Taylor reduced UAE to 46 for six before Amjad Javed and Nasir Aziz combined for a 107-run partnership that gave their score some credibility.
The associate nation were eventually dismissed for 175 and Holder`s team romped to 176-4 in the 31st over, with Johnson Charles (55) and Jonathan Carter (50 not out) providing the bulk of the runs.
Charles` form will put pressure on Dwayne Smith, who has scored just 93 runs in six innings, for the quarter-finals if Chris Gayle is fit enough to play after he pulled out of Sunday`s match with a back injury.
Holder expects him to play in Wellington next Saturday.
"He has had the same back problem he has had for a year and he has good days and bad days," Holder said of Gayle`s injury.
"But he is a crucial player for us going into the quarter-final. He will be up for it, even if he is not 100 percent.
"He is a big game player and we all know what he can do on those days.
"Obviously Johnson played a very good innings and has probably pretty much secured his spot for the next game but we will sit down, see the conditions and pick the team."
Holder was mindful they could still possibly face Australia in the quarter-finals but were expecting to face Brendon McCullum`s side.
"New Zealand has been playing some pretty decent cricket," he added in noting McCullum`s side were unbeaten.
"They have done reasonably well up top with guys like (Martin) Guptill, McCullum and Kane Williamson, so obviously the quicker we get into their middle order, the better off for us.
"And when we bat we just need to counter the Southee-Boult opening combination."