Kieron Pollard rues middle-order’s inability to close out matches; says WI need to ‘find a way to win’

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard, on the back of his side’s one-run loss in the third T20I, yet again pinned the blame on the middle-order and rued the batting line-up’s inability to close out matches. Despite being 90/2 at the halfway mark, a middle-order hiccup saw WI lose the third T20I by one run.

It was heartbreak in Grenada for the Kieron Pollard-led Windies side as the hosts suffered a heart-wrenching one-run defeat to go behind in the series. Having restricted the Proteas to 167, courtesy a fine bowling display, the Windies looked in control of the chase at the halfway mark, with them, at 90/2, needing a mere 78 off the final 10 overs. However, an inspiring bowling performance from the visitors, coupled with some questionable batting, saw Windies fall short of the target by one run to hand the Proteas a 2-1 lead in the series.

Post the second T20I, Pollard singled out himself and Pooran, and once again, following defeat in game three, the Windies skipper pinned the blame on the middle-order. Pollard rued the Windies’ ability to close out the match and admitted that his side were guilty of not capitalizing on a brisk start.

“It has plagued us over the two games, and we need to get the chase right. We had a lot of dots and didn’t capitalize on a good start. We couldn’t get over the line despite starts, and we have to find a way, that’s it,” Pollard said after the game, reported Cricbuzz.

“We have close matches, some you win, some you lose. We need to find a way to win.”

For the third match running, however, the Windies bowlers proved to be outstanding. Led by Obed McCoy’s four wicket haul, the Windies bowlers kept pressurizing the Proteas batters and eventually restricted the hosts to just 167, despite Quinton de Kock threatening to take the score well beyond 180. Pollard lavished praise on his bowlers, who, according to him, gave their 100%.

“The bowlers have been fantastic, you can’t fault their efforts. Both teams have gotten off to good starts, but Obed and Bravo have executed well to restrict SA to 167. Obed had a brilliant series last year, and to continue that this series shows that he’s growing.”

For remarkable figures of 2/13 off 4 overs, Tabraiz Shamsi was named Man of the Match, but the wrist-spinner credited the whole team for the victory. After getting carted in the first T20I, the Proteas bowlers have bounced back in each of the next two games, and Shamsi insisted that the young bowling unit is ‘learning quickly’.

“It was nice to put in a performance for the team, but the whole bowling performance was brilliant. Quinny (de Kock) showed his class, good powerplay. You have to change lines and lengths according to the pitches. We had a hard chat after the first game. We got criticism but people forget this is a young bowling group and you can see that the boys are learning quickly,” Shamsi said.

“Depending on the batters you are bowling to, you got to adjust your lines and lengths accordingly. The guys showed great guts, happy to be 2-1 up. The wickets are getting tougher, so credit to our batting unit for the way we started. Didn’t finish well but we fully back them. We bowlers are there to defend whatever is on the board.”

The fourth T20I of the five-match series will be played on July 1 at the same venue.

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