LONDON, England – Kemar Roach produced one his best bowling efforts in limited-overs cricket with a brilliant new ball spell and then returned to hit the winning runs as West Indies beat Pakistan by 2 wickets to get their ICC Champions Trophy campaign off to a winning start.
The Windies new ball bowler took 3-28 off his 10 overs as Pakistan folded for 170 after captain Dwayne Bravo won the toss and bowled first. Roach then proved to be the Windies’ hero as he hit the winning boundary square of the wicket which took the Caribbean side to 172-8 off 40.4 overs.
“I wanted to pitch the ball up and let the ball do the work. Pakistan are a tough side to play against and it was quite a challenge. My rhythm was on today and I felt good running in,” Roach said after accepting his Man-of-the-Match award from Sir Trevor McDonald.
“I was a little low on confidence coming into the match as I wasn’t at my best in the last warm-up match against Sri Lanka but I bounced back quickly. I got a huge backing and vote of confidence from the others in the dressing room and that helped to lift me in a big way.”
Roach added: “Today I ‘attacked’ the crease very well, and I got the ball to do a bit early on. So that helped me to get a couple early wickets. We now look ahead to what is to come. The next match is against India and we know they have a strong batting line-up so we will regroup and look at our plans to get the better of them as well. This is a short, tight tournament and we have to be at our best at all times to survive. We all know what is required.”
Roach took 3-5 in 14 balls up front. He started with the wicket of Imran Farhat – brilliant caught by Dwayne Bravo at second slip and then sent back Mohammed Hafeez – bowled by a inswinger which rattled the middle stump. Roach later had Asad Shafiq well caught by Ravi Rampaul on the third man boundary as he tried to cut a quick, short ball.
Roach received good support from Sunil Narine who also took three wickets in 10 overs. The off-spinner, who recently jumped to Number one in the ICC ODI bowling rankings ended with 3-34 – including his 50th wicket in his 29th match.
Speaking after the match, captain Bravo was full of praise for Roach and Narine.
“The new ball is very important. There are two new balls so there is pressure on both ends. Roach got the wickets, but Rampaul also built pressure on the other end. So I think it’s important that the bowling partnership we planned worked very well, and it was good to see we executed our game plan. We kept putting pressure, kept looking for wickets. I’m an attacking captain by nature, so therefore I’ll be setting attacking fields and we have the right bowlers to do the job,” Bravo said.
“We can’t forget Sunil Narine also…it started with Kemar Roach and he backed up really well. To have a weapon like Sunil there to come and bowl in the middle and bowl in the powerplay is quite fantastic. It was a great team effort by all the bowlers.”
West Indies will remain in London where they will play their second Group B match against India at the Oval on Tuesday.