Shai Hope in action for the West Indies. (AFP)
Shai Hope led from the front in Buffalo Park, scoring 128 off 155 balls with five fours and seven sixes and took his side to a win
West Indies ODI captain Shai Hope said that his team was trying to win more matches and turn around its misfortunes after beating South Africa by 48 runs in the second match of the ODI series in East London on Saturday.
“It’s something we speak about in the meetings. We are just trying to win more cricket games. We didn’t have a successful 2022 and we are trying everything to turn it around,” Hope said, according to an ESPNCricinfo report.
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The Windies, who are two-time world champions and used to be an irresistible force in the 1970s and 1980s have been only a pale shadow of their former self for quite some time now. There have seen some high points in the ODI arena, like winning the 2004 edition of the ICC Champions Trophy win and finishing runners-up in 2006. As far as the ICC World Cup is concerned, they have been away from semi-final qualification since 1996, let alone thinking about winning the trophy.
The last time that the Windies won an ODI series against major opposition was back in 2020-21 against Sri Lanka. Beyond that, you would have to go all the way back to 2012 to locate a Windies series win against a frontline team. They had won that series against New Zealand 4-1. In between, there have been victories against the likes of Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Ireland, Netherlands and Bangladesh. They have lost to Bangladesh too.
However, Hope would be hoping that under his leadership, the Windies would be able to put it past South Africa. Hope led from the front in Buffalo Park on Saturday, scoring 128 off 155 balls with five fours and seven sixes as the touring side put on a mammoth 335/8 on the board in 50 overs. In reply, the Proteas were led by a captain’s knock by Temba Bavuma (144 off 118 balls) but still fell short. Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hosein were the standout performers with the ball with figures of 3/53 and 3/59.
Hope, who also kept wickets in this match said that the match was a “tiring” one for him, but was committed to giving his best for the team. “I am definitely going to take it on full speed. It’s about giving my all to the team. I am getting support from all ends. I have got support from guys off the field and on the field. I’ve got to keep embracing the responsibility and when the time comes to shine, I’ll do so,” Hope said.
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With the Windies not doing too well in the Test series against the Proteas, there are now calls to bring Hope back into the Test team. When asked about whether he wants to get back into the Test side, Hope sounded pragmatic.
“Something that I always preach in the camp: control what you can control. I can’t control what the selectors do, I can’t control things behind the scenes, all I can control is the way I prep, the way I play and the performance I put in on the field. If the chance and the opportunity arises, I will take it with both hands,” he said.
The Windies lead the three-match ODI series against South Africa 1-0 after the first match of the series at the same venue on Thursday was washed out.
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