Guyanese Romario Shepherd hailed for outstanding performance in Windies near-miss against England
Nicholas Pooran defended West Indies' selection and praised Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein after their late hitting gave England a fright in Barbados.
England smashed 171 at the Kensington oval on Sunday to level the T20 International series against the West Indies with a one-run victory.
It had been almost three months since England beat Sri Lanka in Sharjah at the T20 World Cup, with the seven defeats and a draw from eight subsequent fixtures encompassing a semi-final exit, another Ashes disaster and then Saturday's nine-wicket hammering by the West Indies.
In Sunday’s match, West Indies slipped to 65 for 7 and 98 for 8 in pursuit of 172 in the second T20I.
This was when Guyana’s Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein's took charge on the pitch with an extraordinary onslaught on 72 runs in just 29 balls for the ninth wicket to take them to a one-run defeat.
Vice-captain Nicholas Pooran said,
“Akeal and Shepherd have been working really hard on their batting. We know in our team we have a long list of hitters.”
“We saw something special from Akeal and Shepherd tonight. Kudos goes to them, they didn't give up at all, but that goes to show the strength in our team.”
From their partnership, Shepherd scored 44 runs off 28 balls, whereas Hosein scored 44 runs off just 16 balls.
“Tonight was their night, we lost the game by two runs [sic], but the next night someone else can turn up to the party.”
After the game, Romario Shepherd received a lot of praise for his fighting knock.
Carlos Brathwaite, who hit the famous four sixes in the 2016 T20 WC Final also appreciated Shepherd in a post-match tweet.
Pooran also showered praises on Hosein.
“Not only tonight but in the Ireland series, [Hosein] proved that he is a capable batsman and tonight he struck the ball as good as anyone. We always give him some thunder that he's batting No. 11 for us but he keeps proving to us that he's a batsman. I'm happy for him: he's working really hard, not only as a bowler but as a batsman as well."
Pooran also defended the selection of Odean Smith, the allrounder, whose involvement has been minimal across the first two T20Is due to West Indies' surfeit of options in their middle order.
"He's playing as a power-hitter,"
"He's a special player and we back him all the way to come out and execute his skills for us. In saying that, we have batsmen who we know have to put our hands up and make runs in crucial positions and in crucial situations."
"At the end of the day we back each and every one in our team here. We're not playing Odean Smith as a bowler. He's an allrounder, he just played the Ireland series and batted really well as well. We back everyone in our team to play their role.
"The captain came on and bowled in crucial times, bowling crucial overs. In all honesty, he bowled an over yesterday and today he wasn't required. If you see the scores, Pollard bowled those four overs really well today."
Smith has bowled a solitary over in the series so far, conceding four runs, and hit 7 off 3 balls from No. 8 on Sunday night. (ESPN Cric Info)