Jason Holder has backed his West Indies attack to bounce their way to World Cup success.

The captain will lead his side out to face Australia on Thursday with the instruction to make their short balls count and target any signs of twitchiness.

West Indies teams from previous eras have thrived as masters of the bouncer.

And with two such deliveries allowed in every over of ODI matches, their modern-day pacemen could hold the key to success over the six-week tournament in England.

Pakistan had little answer to the West Indies attack last Friday, being rolled over for a dismal 105 total, and that gave Holder cause for encouragement.

"If it's a situation where we feel a batsman may be susceptible to the short ball, then we're going to use it," Holder said.

"If it's a situation where that's not the case, then we'll find other alternatives. It's just not stuck on the short ball.

"I think all the teams so far have used the short ball, and it's just something that's in the game. You've got two short balls per over; you might as well use them."

Few sides exploit the short ball better than Holder's West Indies, which is among the reasons they are rated by bookmakers among the trophy favourites.

Chris Gayle and Andre Russell are both expected to be fit for the Australia match after minor injury worries.

And Holder has said the Windies batsmen should "show intent and be fearless" against an Australian attack who can also be counted on to unleash a barrage of bouncers.

With the World Cup still in its early stages, Holder is reluctant to add any pressure on to his players.

"We've got a hurdle to overcome. I think when we overcome that hurdle, then we'll move deeper into the tournament," he said.

"But I just don't want to single out teams particularly. I think all teams are evenly matched and well-balanced, so it's just a matter of playing good cricket on any given day. That's our rule. We want to execute in all three departments."

Australia will look to right the wrongs of their last visit to Trent Bridge when they face West Indies in the Cricket World Cup.

Justin Langer's men were subjected to a humiliating 242-run thrashing in Nottingham 12 months ago as England racked up a record ODI total of 481-6.

However, a much-changed Australia line-up - set to feature only three of the players involved in that game - will be confident of ensuring a different outcome on Thursday.

The Windies began their campaign in style at Trent Bridge last Friday, thrashing Pakistan by seven wickets, but they can expect to face a sterner test against opponents boosted by the returns of David Warner and Steve Smith.

Warner made 89 as Australia kicked off the defence of their title with a routine seven-wicket win over Afghanistan.

The five-time world champions are set to be unchanged from that encounter, while the Windies are hopeful Andre Russell - a star performer with the ball against Pakistan - will be fit to retain his place after a recurring knee problem flared up. Chris Gayle is also set to feature again despite suffering back pain in the opener.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

The Windies were emphatic winners over Pakistan, who crumbled to 105 all out in the face of a barrage of short balls.

Australia limited Afghanistan to 207 in Bristol, before cruising home on the back of Warner's innings and a fluent 66 from skipper Aaron Finch.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Windies captain Jason Holder: "If it's a situation where we feel a batsman may be susceptible to the short ball, then we're going to use it. If it's a situation where that's not the case, then we'll find other alternatives."

Finch: "I think if we are tentative and if we are a bit standoffish and wait for things to happen, that's when they can dominate you from the start. It's important that you turn up with the right attitude and the right intent in the first 10 overs, bat or ball."

 

OPTA FACTS

- Australia have won nine of their last 10 ODIs against West Indies, although the teams have not met in this format since 2016.

- After winning their first four World Cup matches versus Australia, the Windies have been beaten in four of the subsequent five meetings between the sides in this tournament.

- Gayle has scored at least a half-century in six successive ODIs. Only one man, Javed Miandad, has ever put together a longer run (nine).

- Mitchell Starc is four wickets away from becoming only the 10th bowler to pick up 150 scalps for Australia. He has claimed 23 wickets in World Cup matches at an average of just 11.

Australia head coach Justin Langer has backed his team to put last year's Trent Bridge nightmare behind them as they prepare to tackle West Indies in Nottingham this week.

England dealt Australia a humiliating defeat on June 19, 2018, when the hosts racked up an ODI record score of 481 for six.

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales bludgeoned the tourists' attack for hefty centuries on that occasion, and Andrew Tye's nine overs cost 100 runs as England set the platform for a 242-run trouncing.

Langer did not dodge the question when asked whether he was feeling any sense of post-traumatic stress disorder on the return to the home of Nottinghamshire, for Thursday's Cricket World Cup clash.

"[We have] had some really good times here at Trent Bridge and last year was a down ..." he said.

"I remember we turned up and ... the spirits were pretty high. That was unbelievable.

"I remember walking down to the gate at the end almost wanting to give all the boys a hug because it was brutal. No doubt about that."

Langer said there had been no question of him scolding his team after that match, adding: "The last thing I needed was another smack when I'd been smacked for three and a half hours."

Australia's line-up will be almost unrecognisable from the side that took that beating, and Langer said: "We're better equipped for it."

World Cup hosts England faltered at the same stadium on Monday, when losing to Pakistan in their second group match, and any lingering Australian scars from their last trip to Nottingham will surely heal fully if they can fend off West Indies.

Mesmerising opener Chris Gayle poses the obvious threat in the West Indies ranks, as Langer acknowledged on Tuesday.

"One thing we know about the West Indies, and particularly with Andre Russell and Chris Gayle back in, it's going to be exciting cricket, isn't it?" Langer said.

"When I was a kid it was calypso cricket, and I think we're seeing plenty of signs of calypso cricket. Running and bowling fast."

Gayle can be every bit as destructive, if not more so, than the England batsmen who took Australia to the cleaners 12 months ago.

"He's been a brilliant player for a long time. Dangerous, we all know that," Langer said. "Like he'll have his plans against our bowlers; we'll have our plans against him as well.

"We know he's dangerous. They've got a number of dangerous players. With him on the team they seemed to grow a leg. They take confidence from him. Hopefully they don't take too much confidence on Thursday."

Bangladesh began their Cricket World Cup campaign in fine fashion, smashing their highest ever ODI total against South Africa at The Oval on Sunday.

The Tigers were sent in to bat and responded in impressive fashion, reaching 330-6 in the biggest score of the tournament so far.

Shakib Al Hasan (75) and Mushfiqur Rahim (78) did the majority of the heavy lifting in a partnership of 142, yet Bangladesh were on top throughout the innings.

And having already set their best World Cup total, two runs off the final ball from Mahmudullah (46 not out) took Bangladesh to a record ODI score, topping their 329-6 against Pakistan in 2015.

South Africa require their highest successful run chase in World Cup history in order to claim victory.

Ian Bell believes England have their biggest chance in years to win the Cricket World Cup, though they may need a bit of luck to secure the trophy.

England started the tournament on home soil as favourites and lived up to that billing with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa at The Oval in the opening game on Thursday.

Batsman Bell, who played 161 ODIs for England and is still hungry for a Test recall, thinks Eoin Morgan's entertainers will take some stopping.

He told Omnisport: "I have England as favourites and it's the best chance we've had for a long time with the squad we've got.

"There are other teams who are obviously very dangerous but it could be the best summer of all time for England.

"They will need a bit of luck and to play some really good cricket as they have for the last few years, but there is no doubt there is a great opportunity to win a first World Cup."

Bell believes India may be the biggest threat to England's bid for glory, while Australia's resources in the bowling department makes them a team to watch.

"You can't go far away from India, their squad of players seems to be so strong and I think they enjoy playing white-ball cricket in England." he added.

"A lof of the teams will enjoy the conditions, it's not like they are having to deal with a swinging, seaming ball. Pitches will turn as the tournament goes on and that can help India, I expect them to be there and thereabouts.

"Australia with their bowling and attack and [Steve] Smith and [David] Warner back in the ranks are obviously even more dangerous. You could make a strong case for a lot of sides, there is so much talent on show."

After more than a year away from international cricket, David Warner enjoyed a dream return as he ushered Australia to a routine seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in their Cricket World Cup opener. 

Andre Russell and Chris Gayle will be monitored after sustaining knocks in West Indies' emphatic Cricket World Cup win over Pakistan on Friday.

Russell, who took 2-4 from three overs of predominantly short-pitched bowling, and Gayle, the only player to reach 50 with the bat, each contributed significantly to a brilliant seven-wicket win in Nottingham.

However, Russell was treated for an apparent ankle injury he sustained towards the end of Pakistan's innings, while Gayle looked to be suffering with a back problem shortly before he fell to Mohammad Amir.

Windies captain Jason Holder is optimistic the duo will have time to recover, with their next match not until Thursday against Australia.

"[Russell] limped off the field, so we're just obviously going to monitor him over the next few days and see how he pulls up for our second encounter against Australia," Holder said.

"I, myself, am not 100 per cent sure what's actually going on with Andre.

"As I said, we've got five days before our next game, so we'll just assess him over the next few days and we'll see what happens."

On Gayle, the skipper added: "[It is the] same thing. After the game, I was eating and what not, so I'm not exactly sure what's going on with Chris, too.

"But the mere fact they sent the physio back off the field is a promising sign, so again, we've got five days to see how he pulls up."

Jason Holder was delighted to see West Indies deliver an opening performance against Pakistan that will increase talk of a Cricket World Cup title challenge.

The Windies dished out a seven-wicket thrashing after Pakistan bowled out for a measly 105 at Trent Bridge

Man-of-the-match Oshane Thomas took 4-27 before Chris Gayle made 50 as West Indies reached their target inside 14 overs.

Windies captain Holder says his side fancy their chances of going all the way and lifting the trophy.

"We wanted to start with a win, so I'm very happy that we started the tournament with a win," Holder said in the post-match presentation.

"It's been a long build-up. We've been anxiously waiting for this first game. It's good to get it out of the way and to be on the better side today.

"As long as we stay fit, we've definitely come here to win this World Cup. But we've got to play the cricket to say that. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

"As I've said, I have no expectations whatsoever - it's just for us to come out and enjoy our cricket and make the people back home proud."

Andre Russell took 2-4 in a brilliant three-over spell and Holder was impressed with how relentless his side as Pakistan were bounced out.

"[Russell] is an impact player. You all can see what he can do with the ball and, as well, with the bat," he said. "It's really good to see him coming and making that impact he did today.

"He was well followed up by Oshane, Sheldon started really well for us, and we were always in the game.

"In the past, we've probably let ourselves down in terms of letting teams get back into the encounter. But credit to the boys with the way we stuck to the task and finished it off."

Praise was also reserved for paceman Thomas, with Holder adding: "It's good to have a young quick in Oshane.

"We know he can be a bit expensive at times, but he's a genuine wicket-taker - and that's a gamble we're willing to take now in the modern-day format.

"With such high totals in cricket, you need to get wickets. That's one area that we wanted to highlight and pinpoint. We see him as an impact player and he came in today and did an outstanding job for us."

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed merely wrote off the defeat as a "bad day" for his batsmen.

"I think today is a bad day for us," he said. "But I'm very confident my team will bounce back."

Pakistan suffered a humiliating start to their Cricket World Cup campaign as they were blown away in a seven-wicket defeat to West Indies at Trent Bridge. 

Andre Russell was treated for an apparent ankle injury as West Indies skittled Pakistan out for their second-lowest Cricket World Cup total at Trent Bridge.

Russell took 2-4 in a lively three-over spell in the second game of the World Cup on Friday, but went down after pulling up in the closing stages of Pakistan's pitiful innings.

The all-rounder, a crucial figure in the Windies' squad, looked to have done damage when stooping for the ball in the deep and toppled over the boundary to receive treatment.

His absence was not felt, however, as with the very next delivery, Oshane Thomas cleaned up Wahab Riaz to end Pakistan’s innings in only 21.4 overs.

Thomas took 4-27, with captain Jason Holder claiming figures of 3-42.

Jofra Archer lived up to the hype surrounding his Cricket World Cup call-up by playing a key role as England completed a resounding 104-run victory over South Africa at The Oval in the tournament's opening game.

A late addition to Eoin Morgan's squad after becoming eligible for England in March, Barbados-born paceman Archer showed why there had been such a clamour for his selection on Thursday, while Ben Stokes also shone and produced an early contender for catch of the tournament.

After the hosts were limited to 311-8 when they looked well set to post a bigger total, Archer swiftly undermined South Africa's reply, taking two wickets in a fine opening spell and forcing Hashim Amla to retire hurt as a vicious bouncer struck the veteran's helmet grille.

Quinton de Kock (68) and Rassie van der Dussen (50) stabilised the Proteas' innings but South Africa then collapsed from 129-2 to 207 all out, with Amla thankfully able to return amid the chaos.

Archer returned to pick up the valuable scalp of Van der Dussen and finished with figures of 3-27 from seven overs, while Stokes - who top-scored for England with 89 - produced a truly extraordinary catch on the boundary as Faf du Plessis' side crumbled.

Stokes leapt high at deep midwicket in the 35th over of the chase and plucked a one-handed take to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo and leave a sell-out crowd gobsmacked.

England were able to celebrate a comfortable win as man-of-the-match Stokes wrapped up the Proteas innings with a pair of wickets soon after.

 

West Indies captain Jason Holder has backed opener Shai Hope to shine at the Cricket World Cup.

The Windies have looked sharp with the bat in their World Cup warm-up matches and start their campaign against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Hope's form has been hugely impressive, with the 25-year-old having clocked up three centuries in warm-up matches for the tournament, including a haul of 170 against Ireland on May 5.

And, after Hope's 101 helped West Indies to a 91-run victory over New Zealand in their final tune up on Tuesday, Holder believes the batsman is well placed to star at the World Cup.

"Shai has been carrying some form for a long time in the limited overs format and he's really confident," Holder told a news conference.

"I think he's worked out pretty much his method of scoring. It's been very, very consistent, which as a group we've probably lacked in the recent past.

"It's really good to see a young batter stepping up and being as consistent as he has been and leading the charge for us, and we've got power around him.

"I think we've got a really good mix in terms of our batter line-up, but obviously Shai has stood out in the recent past with his success."

Given the Windies' form with the bat, Trent Bridge – with its short boundary – could present an ideal venue to kick-start their campaign, but Holder insisted that his side have no preconceptions ahead of their opening fixture.

"I don't want to sit here and try to predetermine what's going to happen," Holder added. "We assess the conditions and we play to suit. It doesn't matter where we're playing.

"That's the way cricket is played, and that's the nature of the game. I don't want to sit before a game and say we're looking to score 500 or 600.

"We are all excited to play in England. The magnitude of this tournament speaks for itself. There's no need to sit here and harp on about it, we just want to take it game by game."

Pakistan offered little resistance to England in a 4-0 series loss earlier in May, before losing to Afghanistan in their final preparation match.

"We are not thinking about the previous results," Captain Sarfraz Ahmed told a news conference. 

"We didn't play well as a team, but our batters are performing well, so we don't think about it. We are very focused and we are very hopeful as a team that we will do well."

Pakistan will hope they can turn things around at just the right time as they open their Cricket World Cup campaign against West Indies at Trent Bridge on the back of a 10-match losing run in ODIs.

A 4-0 series defeat to tournament hosts England extended Pakistan's miserable streak, but they can take heart from the fact they won the last major tournament in the United Kingdom, the 2017 Champions Trophy.

At a venue synonymous with high scoring in recent years, Mickey Arthur's men face the daunting task of keeping the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell quiet on Friday.

Gayle, who will retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup, heads into the event in superb form having registered two hundreds and three fifties in his last five innings in 50-over internationals, while Russell was a destructive presence throughout the recent Indian Premier League campaign.

With England, India and Australia favoured to secure semi-final berths, Pakistan and West Indies will both be determined not to lose early ground in the group stage.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed refused to divulge details of the make-up of his XI in a news conference on Thursday, but he did suggest all 15 players were fit despite reports suggesting Mohammad Amir would not recover from illness in time to feature.

 

HOW DID THEY WARM UP?

Jason Holder's West Indies have displayed mixed form in the lead-up to the tournament, but they certainly caught fire in their warm-up win over New Zealand, an elongated order amassing a mammoth total of 421 at Bristol.

Pakistan's dismal run in ODIs has been well-documented and they also lost a warm-up fixture against Afghanistan last week. However, head coach Arthur is confident his side will benefit from the fact they have played in England for several weeks ahead of the tournament. 

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Jason Holder: "One thing I like coming into this tournament is that every player is in a good frame of mind. Everybody is playing with a smile on their face, and I think that's how we play our best cricket."

Sarfraz Ahmed: "I think it's good to be unpredictable. All teams are scared because of Pakistan. At the end of the day, the Pakistan team is very dangerous."

 

OPTA FACTS

- Pakistan have won seven of their last nine ODIs against the West Indies, including their previous two meetings (both in April 2017).

- West Indies have managed to win five of their six completed ODI games played at Trent Bridge (L1) whilst Pakistan have suffered three defeats on the bounce at the Nottingham venue heading into this contest.

- Babar Azam has struck hundreds in four of his six ODI knocks against West Indies. He needs one more century to equal Brian Lara's record of five centuries in ODIs between West Indies and Pakistan.

South Africa opener Hashim Amla was forced to retire hurt having taken a nasty blow to the helmet grille as his team tried to secure victory against England in the opening game of the Cricket World Cup.

The Proteas, chasing 312 to beat the tournament hosts at The Oval, suffered an early setback when Amla came off in the fourth over after a vicious short ball from England seamer Jofra Archer reared up and struck him.

Amla initially called for a new helmet to be brought to him from the dressing room but, after further inspection out in the middle, he left the field while rubbing his head and Aiden Markram came out to join Quinton de Kock.

South Africa were 14 without loss at the time, with Amla having made five from eight balls.

Markram lasted just 12 deliveries and was dismissed for 11 when he edged Archer to Joe Root at slip.

Windies captain Jason Holder has hailed the team’s big win over New Zealand in their final official ICC World Cup warm-up match as welcomed momentum heading into the start of the tournament.

In-form batsman Shai Hope stroked another brilliant 100 and was backed up by half-centuries from Evin Lewis and Andre Russell as the regional team piled up 421 runs.  In response, the Windies took any possibility of the fixture materializing as a contest after claiming early wickets, following early breakthroughs from Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach and O’Shane Thomas.  In the end, the Black Caps were 91 runs short of the target.

For Holder, such a strong all-around performance with the team bowing into action in just a couple days’ time against Pakistan is encouraging.  Especially on the back of a Tri-series performance, which featured Ireland and Bangladesh that was less than impressive.

“It was a good win; any win is good right now in the position we are in because we are building towards something special at the World Cup.  To get this momentum going into the first game against Pakistan I think is key,” Holder said following the game.

“I was also pleased with the bowlers.  I thought we stuck to our task.  It was a really good wicket, we were able to do what we wanted to do.”

 

 

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