By Rex Clementine
United States have had a dream run in this World Cup. They had beaten Pakistan in the Super Over and had tested other strong sides, but their campaign faced a stiff challenge when they took on two times champions West Indies in Barbados.
Pace has dominated in the tournament so far but in Barbados, the spinners showed that they could be handful too lead up to the business end of the competition. USA were bowled out for 128 in 19.5 overs. Having started off their Super Eight stage with a loss against England, West Indies not only needed a win but had to stay ahead of the Net Run Rate and the batters went about their business with real intent and purpose.
The target was chased down with 9.1 overs to spare with nine wickets in hand and the big win saw West Indies sitting pretty although South Africa, still unbeaten in the tournament, are leading the table. If West Indies win their remaining game over South Africa, they will go through irrespective of Net Run Rate scenarios.
West Indies had been dealt a severe blow when opening batter Brandon King was ruled out with a side strain and Kyle Mayers was added into the squad.
Shai Hope, who had batted at number four earlier in the competition was given a chance to open batting and he made most of the opportunity with an entertaining knock.
His unbeaten 82 that came off 39 balls contained eight sixes and four fours. In a 63-run partnership for the second wicket that came in 23 balls Nicholas Pooran wasted no time smashing 27 in 12 balls with three sixes and a four. Pooran now has most sixes in an ICC T-20 World Cup. He has hit 17 sixes so far, one better than Chris Gayle, who had hammered 16 sixes in the 2012 edition.
West Indies came into the game with three spin bowling options and it was off-spinner Roston Chase, who had the most impact running through USA middle order. He finished with three for 19.
Left-arm orthodox spinners Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Motie were economical going for less than five runs an over.
Alzarri Joseph has got his rhythm back claiming two wickets while Andre Russell accounted for three scalps.
It was a convincing win for West Indies in front of a packed crowd that included Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Clive Lloyd and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley.