Despite his team’s 58-run defeat to Australia in the final of the tri-nation series on Sunday, West Indies captain Jason Holder remains positive and is keen to focus on the gains his boys made, especially some impressive performances from the top order batsmen. He also added that in-form Shannon Gabriel’s absence in the end overs affected their chance.

Two of the four centuries that were struck in the tournament came from Caribbean batsmen – Marlon Samuels smashed a 125 in a defeat to Australia, but Darren Bravo’s brilliant 102 helped the team rally from an early collapse and throw South Africa out of the tournament in the last league match in Barbados on Friday. Unfortunately, both batsmen were dismissed for 6 in the final, as West Indies failed to chase down a challenging 271.

West Indies still hold on to the No. 8 spot in ICC ODI rankings but en route to the final they made sure a five-point lead over Pakistan, who are currently placed ninth.

“Credit must go to the whole group,” Holder said after the final. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to get this far. We’ve put up some pretty good performances leading up to this final. And still in this final, we’ve got some things to shout about. It’s just important that we keep improving. Improvement is the name of the game. We just have to keep building and moving our way up the rankings.

“We asked one of the top four batsmen to put up a big hand each time and go on and get a big score for the team. We got two hundreds in this series, from Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo. Credit must go to them.

“I thought Kieron Pollard coming back into the West Indies team did a really good job, not only with the bat and the ball, but his presence in the dressing room, his experience counted for a lot. Things like that, we really need around our cricket. Hopefully, we can have him in the dressing room going forward.”

Holder believes in-form fast bowler Shannon Gabriel’s absence in the death overs eventually affected West Indies strategy. Gabriel picked up Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell’s wicket in the space of five balls in the 31st over but sadly couldn’t continue and had to leave the field with an injury after bowling seven overs.

“I felt we conceded 20-30 too many. We lost Shannon Gabriel as well, his overs at the end were crucial. With the bat, we fell away and didn’t recover after a decent start. The wickets of Smith and Maxwell changed the game; credit to Shannon.”

Holder, however, admits that West Indies bowlers gave Australia the opportunity to get away with 20 to 30 runs more than they should have after restricting them down to 156 for 5 in the 31st over. Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade’s significant 57 led Australia to 270 for 9 before Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood ripped apart West Indies’ batting, taking 3 for 32 and 5 for 50 respectively.


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