Sun | Sep 24, 2023

Pooran hails Hosein, Shepherd

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 12:10 AM


Vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has praised lower-order batsmen Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd for giving the visitors a run for their money after the West Indies lost the second match in the T20 International Betway Series to England on Sunday.

A record 72-run, ninth-wicket stand between the two, who each recorded career-best cameos of 44 not out, caused tremors for England late in the game, even though the hosts eventually lost by one run at Kensington Oval.

“Akeal and Shepherd have been working really hard on their batting,” Pooran said after the match. “We know in our team we have a long list of hitters. Tonight we saw something special from Akeal and Shepherd. Kudos goes to them. They didn’t give up at all, but that goes to show the strength in our team.”

Pooran said Hosein, in particular, continued to demonstrate he was more than just a bowler. He took just 16 balls to reach his unbeaten 44.

“Tonight – well not only tonight but in the Ireland series – he proved he is a capable batsman and he struck the ball as good as anyone. We always give him some thunder that he’s batting No. 11 for us, and he keeps proving to us that he’s a batsman,” he said.

“I’m happy for him; he’s working really hard, not only as a bowler but as a batsman as well.”

Asked whether he felt the earlier batsmen could have done anything differently that might have changed the outcome of the game, the vice-captain said the fall of the openers – Brandon King falling leg before wicket for a first-ball ‘duck’ off the second ball of the innings and Shai Hope’s run out for 2 – may have hurt their chances.

“I felt like Kingy had a tough decision there, but we have to accept those things. With the run-out with Hopey there, a bit unfortunate – a wrong decision maybe at that time. I think that set us back in the powerplay as well,” he said.

Speaking after the match, Hosein said the support from Shepherd and the fans kept him pressing on.

Hosein arrived in the 16th over of the match, with West Indies faced with a required run rate of nearly 15 runs per over and seemingly out of contention.

The slim left-hander showed his power with three fours and four sixes in a 16-ball stunner. With 30 runs needed from the last over, Hosein unfurled an exhibition of top-class hitting, lashing two fours and three sixes – the latter coming from the last three deliveries in a tense over sent down by pacer Saqib Mahmood.

“I decided I just had to go for it, and I backed myself. Shepherd was at the other end fully supporting me and that helped a lot. I looked at all my options and targeted the areas I wanted to hit, and I got them out of the middle. It was a big target at the end, but we gave it all we had,” he said.

The third match in the five-match series will be played at the same venue tomorrow, starting at 3 p.m. (Jamaica time).