Hope emphasizes “stay ready” mentality after masterclass 82* against USA

By June 22, 2024
Shai Hope celebrates bringing up his fifty against the USA. Shai Hope celebrates bringing up his fifty against the USA. ICC/Getty Images

For a long time, West Indies ODI skipper Shai Hope was looked at as a batsman who would struggle in the shortest form of the game because of what many described as an inability to score quickly.

Over the last couple years, however, Hope has rubbished those sentiments thanks to some destructive batting performances in the CPL as well as in leagues around the world.

His evolution as a T20 batsman was none more evident than during the West Indies’ game against the USA at the ICC T20 World Cup on Friday in his home country of Barbados.

Looking to bounce back from a loss to England in their first game of the Super 8 on Wednesday, the joint hosts dismissed their American counterparts for 128 after losing the toss at the Kensington Oval.

The West Indians then needed only 10.5 overs to reach 130-1, with Hope finishing 82* off just 39 balls. In a brilliant display of power hitting, Hope hit eight sixes and four fours on the way to his highest score in T20 Internationals.

“Clinical,” was how Hope described the team’s performance on Friday in a post-match press conference.

“Especially coming off the loss that we had a couple days ago. It's great to see the guys understood the assignment today and we played the cricket that we wanted to play. It's important for us to continue in this vein because we see what's at stake now. But yeah, very happy with the bounce back that we did today and there's a lot more cricket to play and we're looking forward to it,” he added.

On his own individual performance, Hope was happy to perform in front of his home crowd.

“Yeah, it was an amazing crowd. It's nice to see everyone came out and support us today. Something that we get in the Caribbean when we're doing well, we tend to see a lot more supporters out there. So that means we must be doing something right if you've got a solo crowd. But yeah, the crowd was rocking today,” he said.

“I thought that the support was amazing. Again, I'm from Barbados so playing in front of this lovely crowd meant a lot more to me. Scoring some runs and winning the game for the team felt even more special so I'm very happy to do that,” Hope added.

At the start of the tournament, Hope was on the outside of the XI looking in. He missed the first three games before coming into the side ahead of Roston Chase in the third game against Afghanistan where he 25 batting at number four.

The 30-year-old was then left out once again for the Super 8 opener against England. A side strain suffered by Brandon King during that game meant Hope was given an opportunity at the top of the order against the USA, an opportunity that he grabbed with both hands.

“Yeah, it's a great feeling. Again, whatever the team requires, that's me. Unfortunately, King had to leave us. Hopefully, he recovers quickly. But yeah, I had to go at the top this time around and the aim was just to get off to a good start. You see the importance of finishing the game early as well. So yeah, I had a good time in the middle, good surface and I enjoyed batting tonight,” he said.

“Just have to stay ready in a tournament like this. There's a reason why we have 15 players. All of them need to be ready whenever the time comes,” he added.

Finally, Hope issued a plea to the fans of the West Indies to continue supporting them on their journey to a third ICC T20 World Cup title.

“Keep rallying. That's our motto. We always talk about rallying around the West Indies. That's exactly what we need to keep doing. The team rallying around each other. The fans need to do the same. We're out there fighting for each and every one of us. So, you understand the importance and the magnitude of the tournament. We're playing a home World Cup, something that I'm sure a lot of cricketers over their careers may not get the opportunity to do. We understand the importance of this in particular and we know how much the fans really want us to win so we're fighting, we're doing it for them and it's great to see the support I hope that it continues for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

The West Indies will take on South Africa in their last Super 8 match on Sunday in Antigua.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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