Today, under new full-time white ball captain Nicholas Pooran, the West Indies Cricket Team snapped a five-match One-day International losing streak, defeating the Netherlands by seven wickets at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen with 11 balls to spare.
The man who produced that extra bit of quality to secure the positive result, though, was vice-captain and opener Shai Hope. He hit an unbeaten 119 runs off just 130 balls—with twelve fours and two sixes—as the Maroon Men closed on 249 for 3 to notch only their second ODI win of the year.
In their first ODI fixture of the year, West Indies defeated Ireland by 24 runs in Kingston, Jamaica on 8 January. However, they lost their next two ODIs to Ireland before being swept 3-0 by India in their next ODI series in February.
Asked to bat first, the Netherlands hoped to add to their guests’ jitters and managed 240 for 7 in an innings reduced to 45 overs by a two-hour long rain interruption halfway through. Duckworth-Lewis-Stern revised the West Indies target to 247 runs off 45 overs but there were relatively few scares in the chase.
Hope and Barbadian compatriot Shamarh Brooks, surprisingly promoted to open, put on 120 for the first wicket,before Brooks and Nkrumah Bonner fell to pacer Logan van Beek off consecutive balls.
Skipper Pooran failed to impress on the day. Having survived a close lbw shout off spinner Aryan Dutt when on 7—ball tracking showed the ball narrowly missing the leg-stump—he lost the same stump to the same bowler two balls later, essaying an ill-advised half-pull, half-sweep.
However, Hope and Brandon King (58 off 51, 5 x 4, 2 x 6) saw the Maroon Men home with an unbroken stand of 116 runs for the fourth wicket.
In this format over the last 12 months, Hope leads all West Indies scorers with 269 runs from nine innings at an average of 33.62. And, last week, in the regional four-day game, he got a century for Barbados Pride against the Guyana Harpy Eagles at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, with 119 runs off 200 balls.
But his knock today propelled him into highly esteemed company.
The latest ton against the Netherlands was the 11th in his 85 ODI innings, with his average now 51.87. Only three West Indies batsmen have more ODI centuries: Chris Gayle (25 in 291 inns, ave. 38.04), Brian Lara (19 in 285 inns, ave. 40.90) and Desmond Haynes (17 in 237 inns, ave. 41.37).
Earlier, the Netherlands, inserted by Pooran, started well enough, openers Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd putting on 63 before Singh was trapped lbw by Akeal Hosein for 47 (45 balls, 6 x 4, 2 x 6).
That the hosts eventually did enough with the bat to be competitive owed much to a 55-run seventh-wicket partnership between Teja Nidamanuru and van Beek. Netherlands were 183 for 6 in the 40th over when the pair came together to plunder 55 runs off the final 33 balls and set West Indies a not unchallenging target of 247—adjusted upwards by Duckworth-Lewis-Stern.
The 27-year-old Nidamanuru, a former Auckland player who debuted for the Netherlands today, was his team’s top-scorer with an unbeaten 58 off 51 balls.
But in the end he had to give way to the West Indies’ in-form opener Hope, who simply would not be denied on the day.
Toss: West Indies
Netherlands: 240 (45 overs) (Teja Nidamanuru 58, Vickramjit Singh 47, Max O’Dowd 39; Akeal Hosein 2/29, Kyle Mayers 2/50)
(Revised target 247 off 45 overs)
West Indies: (43.1 overs) (Shai Hope 119*, Shamarh Brooks 60, Brandon King 58*; Logan Van Beek 2/49, Aryan Dutt 1/46)
Man-of-the-Match: Shai Hope
Result: West Indies win by seven wkts
West Indies lead the three-match series 1-0