T20 World Cup: Five-wicket Akeal Hosein shines as Windies thrash record-low Uganda

Published June 9, 2024
West Indies win the toss and choose to bat against Uganda in a match of the T20 World Cup on June 8. — X/windiescricket
West Indies win the toss and choose to bat against Uganda in a match of the T20 World Cup on June 8. — X/windiescricket

Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein’s career-best figures of five for 11 decimated an inept Ugandan batting line-up as the West Indies romped to a 134-run victory in a Group C match of the T20 World Cup at the Guyana National Stadium on Saturday.

Set a daunting target after the tournament co-hosts posted 173 for five batting first, the World Cup debutants looked completely out of their depth in being routed for 39 off 12 overs.

The score equalled the record of the Netherlands against Sri Lanka in the 2014 tournament for the lowest innings total in the T20 World Cup.

West Indies’ second win in as many matches pulls them level at the top of the table on points with Afghanistan although the Afghans remain in first position by virtue of a better net run-rate.

Now regularly entrusted with the responsibility of opening the bowling for the Caribbean team, Hosein felt the spectacular success on the night was just reward for continuous hard work and improvement.

“I needed this. In the nets and in the previous series we’ve played I felt the ball was coming out nicely but I just wasn’t getting the rewards,” he said after collecting the “Man of the Match” award.

“It’s a lot of hard work, especially when you start getting success. The way the game is moving, guys are going to study and come up with different plans, so you have to keep working to stay one step ahead of them every time.”

Just four days after a historic victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Africans were made acutely aware of the yawning gap in class in the batting department, even if their bowlers still emerged from the match with considerable credit.

Opener Johnson Charles led the West Indies batting effort with a top score of 44 off 42 balls (four fours, two sixes), yet none in the celebrated power-hitting middle-order were able to cut loose.

Captain Brian Masaba earned the two important wickets of Nicholas Pooran and opposite number Rovman Powell with his wrist-spinners, while seamers Cosmas Kyewuta and Juma Miyagi impressed with their pace and accuracy. It was left to Andre Russell with a 17-ball unbeaten 30 (six fours) to the West Indies innings late acceleration.

“It’s a very steep learning curve for us, especially in the batting department and we have to learn from this experience and understand what we need to do to keep ourselves in the game,” said Masaba in assessing the overall effort of his team.

“It’s a huge challenge (this World Cup debut) but it’s something we’re enjoying and we understand if we are going to get better we need to be playing against opposition like this a bit more and over time we will be able to narrow the gap.”

For West Indies captain Rovman Powell, the improvement from a scrappy opening victory over PNG nearly a week earlier was particularly pleasing.

“That last game we were a little bit flat so coming into this game we just wanted to improve as a team and I think we’re up to 70-80 per cent now and it’s good to see guys getting performances under their belts because moving forward it’s going to get tougher,” he noted.

“We have been playing good cricket as a team for the last 12 months or so it’s just for us to continue to improve because we understand the conditions and cricket isn’t easy in the Caribbean.”

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