West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, who slammed his maiden one-day international century in the West Indies’ heart-breaking five-run loss to New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Saturday, says getting the team close to the total in the first place was all about self-belief.
Some poor shot selection by most of the batsmen saw West Indies in a hole before Brathwaite finally came good with the bat to commandeer one of the best batting comebacks in World Cup history only to fall at the final hurdle.
The West Indies were well poised at 130 for two after 20 overs thanks to a 122-run partnership between Shimron Hetmyer (54) and Chris Gayle, who made 87 with six sixes. But they then slipped to 164 for seven before Brathwaite led a superb counter-attack with the tailenders. He shared a last-wicket stand of 41 off 24 balls with Oshane Thomas and also added 47 with Kemar Roach (14) and 34 with Sheldon Cottrell (15) to bring the team within touching distance of an upset win.
Speaking of the effort, Brathwaite said, “We came close. Give credit to the lower order, everyone that came in. Everyone believed we could get over the line.
“Obviously, it was heart-breaking to get so close but not get over the line. There were some positives though, the fight that the lower order showed was commendable. Myself and the lower order … we talked about it. Everything that we talked about happened, except getting over the line.”
Earlier in the match, Cottrell continued his fine bowling as he had a hand in seven of the eight New Zealand wickets to fall. The left-arm seamer returned figures of four for 56 – which included the wickets of openers Martin Guptil and Colin Munro leg-before-wicket and cleaned bowled in the first over. He also held two catches off Brathwaite’s bowling in the final over and effected the run out of Colin deGrandhomme with a superb one-handed pick-up and direct hit. The Man of the Match award went to New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who hit 148, his second century of the tournament. Ross Taylor supported with 69 in a third-wicket stand of 160 that was the rock upon which the Black Caps built their total.
Brathwaite admitted not getting the result after the effort was disheartening.
“It was bittersweet,” he said.
“For me personally, for my confidence, as a result of all the hard work I've been putting in, it’s finally good that it comes to fruition. I’m giving thanks for the performance, even getting the team into the position we got into before I got out. I thought it had enough bat on the final shot. I was willing it to go up and up and up.”
Brathwaite added: “I just knew how much everyone in the dressing room wanted it. We always talk about belief. For me to be the person out there to try to bring it home, that was the only thing on my mind, finding a way to get it done."