Need To Put Pressure On New Zealand Middle Order - Jason Holder
West Indies captain Jason Holder emphasized on the need to strike early with the new ball against New Zealand when the two sides meet on Saturday for the World Cup quarter-final in Wellington.
While praising the New Zealand top-order, the West Indies skipper stressed on the need to perform the basics right both with bat and ball.
“Once we tick our boxes of taking wickets with the new ball like we’ve been doing in this tournament so far, I think we can put pressure on their middle-order,” said Holder to media after his side’s six-wicket win over UAE.
“They’ve done reasonably well at the top with guys like Guptill, McCullum and also Kane Williamson.
“So, if you get into middle-order as quickly as possible, it’d be better for us.
“When we bat, obviously we’ve to counter the Boult and Southee combination.”
West Indies were without Chris Gayle for the clash against UAE after the big left-hander complained of a stiff back.
However, Holder seemed unaffected by Gayle’s fitness concern and tipped the opening batsman to play a vital role in the quarter-final.
“Chris has the same back problem around last year. He has good days and his bad days.
“He is a key player for us and his fitness is key going into the quarter-final.
“I’m sure he’d be up for it even if he isn’t a 100 percent.
“It’s an important game and he is a big player. We all know what big players can do on big days.”
West Indies needed a comprehensive win against UAE to qualify for the knockout stages and Holder expressed happiness at being able to pull it off perfectly.
“It was important for us. I wanted to bowl first and try to get UAE out for a small total so that we could get the runs quickly.
“It just fell into place today and had luck with the toss.
“Not much you can do to control it and we were fortunate with it.
“I’m glad that we were able to execute our plans.”
The 23-year-old, who was awarded the man-of-the-match for his four-wicket haul seemed unfazed at being unable to get a fifer and defended his decision bowl his quota at one stretch.
“Well, it’s my third four-wicket haul now in international cricket.
“I haven’t been able to break the five-wicket barrier but ideally for the team it was important that I went through to get early wickets.
“I think I got my fourth around my sixth or seventh over.
“At that stage, I just tried to bowl myself through and try to get the UAE team further setbacks.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t get five wickets or go beyond it but it’s good to see that the other guys picked up towards the middle and the end.”
There was a freak incident on the field when Holder decided to replace Darren Sammy after just one-over, something that didn’t go down well with the all-rounder who seemed upset at his skipper.
Terming the issue as a "bit of banter" Holder denied speculations regarding any rift between the two players.
“We just had a bit of banter on the field.
“At that stage we just wanted to have some fun but unfortunately it didn’t seem that way to many.
“We’re all good you know and pretty good mates.
“It was just a tussle, was a crucial game and at the end of the day, we shake hands and smile together.”
After reducing UAE to 46 for six West Indies bowlers were kept at bay with a 107-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Amjad Javed and Nasir Aziz that got their team to a respectable score.
Despite being unable to finish off the UAE lower-order quickly, Holder seemed visibly happy with his team’s all-round performance.
“Obviously those two guys put on a good partnership for UAE.
“But partnerships are a part of cricket.
“Having picked up the first six wickets very easily, we were expecting a partnership somewhere along the line.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to break it early and they put on over a 100 runs.
“But I really cannot fault the effort of our bowlers as they tried hard and then the batsmen came down to finish the job quickly for us.”
Explaining the need to maintain pressure with the ball, Holder denied the notion that his team had got complacent after snaring the first six UAE wickets cheaply.
“I wouldn’t say we took a step back.
“There was always the pressure to get them bowled out but as I said, partnerships are part of cricket and you just need to break it.
“Unfortunately we took a little longer today to break that partnership.
“I think during those phases you need to ensure that you’re not trying too hard to get wickets but go through the process of building pressure.”
Holder heaped praise on Marlon Samuels who bowled a tidy spell with his off-breaks conceding just 25 runs from his 10 overs with four maidens and a wicket to his name.
“I think Marlon Samuels bowled an excellent spell today.
“He came in and built pressure which made it easier for Russell and Kemar at the end.
“It’s all about building pressure.
“I think that in those stages when you’re not getting wickets, you just need to keep the run-rate down and build pressure.”
There had been concerns over the weather for the West Indies-UAE clash but Holder denied being distracted with the forecast.
“It wasn’t too much on my mind. Obviously it wasn’t under our control.
“We were checking the forecast and it said that rain would stay away for the majority of the day.
“If at all, it’d have rained in the evening.
“It was important to maintain our focus on what we could control which was playing cricket.
“Credit to the guys for the way they played.”
Opening batsman Johnson Charles, who stroked a 40-ball 55 with nine fours and two sixes seemed a confident man in the middle despite playing his first match of the World Cup.
Speaking on his performance Charles denied being under extra pressure despite making his World Cup debut at a short notice.
“I was playing back in the Caribbean, so it didn’t feel all that different from playing cricket as far as I can say,” said Charles.
“But it’s a different atmosphere in New Zealand and I just had to make the adjustment.
“I had a couple of days in the nets, did some work and went out there backing myself.”
West Indies take on New Zealand in the fourth quarter-final at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 21st March.
© Cricket World 2015