Nail-biting first for Pollard
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
The West Indies continued their recovery from the disappointment of being eliminated from the Champions Trophy at the group stage earlier this month, following a narrow one-wicket win over top-ranked one-day international (ODI) team India in the second match of the Celkon Mobile Tri-Nation Series at Sabina Park yesterday.
The team was captained for the first time by Trinidadian Kieron Pollard in the absence of countryman Dwayne Bravo, who had suffered a groin injury during Friday's victory over the other team participating in the series, Sri Lanka.
Bravo is expected to return for the second leg of the series - to be played in Trinidad - but fast-bowler Ravi Rampual, who injured his ankle while bowling on Friday, will be out for three weeks and is to be replaced in the squad.
Pollard conceded to being nervous in the latter stages of the match, which saw a 10-run stand between birthday boy Kemar Roach (14) and Tino Best (three) required to see the regional team home with 14 balls to spare and end India's nine-match winning streak in international cricket.
"The pressure was at the end of the day when we wanted to win," Pollard shared. "At the start, there wasn't any pressure. We have experienced guys in the team, guys who have captained West Indies before and have played cricket all over the world. Their knowledge and their experience helped me in going about the task of trying to lead the West Indies.
"So the pressure was just a matter of us doing the right things and putting the ball in the right areas and, obviously, scoring one more run than the opposition."
Man of the Match, Johnson Charles, played a huge role in setting up the victory, as the opener made 97 from 100 deliveries before being dismissed in the 41st over with the team still 18 runs away from victory.
"To get out on 97 is always disappointing, but I must say well played to Roach and Tino (Best) for bringing us across the line," Charles expressed.
"When they got us across the line it was a huge pressure off my shoulders.
"It is a huge confidence booster winning against a top-ranked team like India which recently won the Champions Trophy and it gives us more zeal to play in the coming matches," Charles added.
Pollard believes that the regional team, which is ranked seventh in ODIs, will now have to assess the areas they need to improve ahead of the second round of matches.
"We have done some really good things today and we have some things we have to work on as a team," Pollard reasoned. "We have enough time to sit down and think about the things that we haven't done well and move on as a team. But we have to be happy for victories and not say we are not happy and not feeling so good, because at the end of the day number 10 and 11 got us over the line, they are batsmen in the team as well."