West Indies captain Jason Holder said they had let themselves down with “inconsistent” bowling after they lost the opening ODI of the five-match series by seven wickets to England at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Though defending only 204 in a contest reduced to 42 overs per side, Holder lamented his side’s lack of enterprise with the ball as the hosts raced to their target in the 31st over courtesy of Jonny Bairstow’s maiden ODI hundred.
Holder said after the game: “We lost wickets at crucial stages. Every time we tried to rebuild we lost a wicket and that doesn’t help the momentum.
“Having said that, with runs on the board, I still felt we could have given a better account of ourselves with the ball. We let ourselves down [by being] just too inconsistent and allowing them to score a bit too freely.”
He added: “We didn’t bowl as well as I thought we should. We were really inconsistent with our lines and lengths and we leaked boundaries.”
The Caribbean side received a robust start from Chris Gayle as the left-hander blasted two fours and three sixes in a 27-ball 35, adding 45 off 33 balls for the first wicket with Evin Lewis (11).
Once the pair departed in the space of 20 balls to leave the visitors on 53 for two in the ninth over, however, the innings wandered as Shai Hope (35) and Marlon Samuels (17) posted 50 for the third wicket but off 87 balls.
They fell in close proximity of each other – 12 balls apart with four runs added – and the pressure told on the middle and lower order, leaving the Windies on an inadequate 203 for nine.
Holder acknowledged that a lack of rotation of strike was to blame for the slow-down in momentum.
“If we’re not getting boundaries we need to rotate the strike and it showed today. In the middle we got a little stuck so it’s an area we need to improve on in terms of rotating the strike,” Holder stressed.
“It’s been an area of concern for a long time for us. We’re naturally a boundary-hitting team but if the boundaries aren’t coming we need to find another option.”
The defeat meant West Indies will now have to resort to contesting a 10-team qualifier next year in order to reach the 2019 World Cup in England.
They can now only finish ninth in the ICC ODI rankings by the September 30 cut-off date, outside the top-right ranking required for direct qualification.
But Holder said their immediate focus was completing the ongoing series and playing competitively.
“There’s definitely work to be done [in the future] but we’ve just got to focus on this series first. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and head back to Trent Bridge in two days time [for the second ODI].”