WI vs Eng 1st ODI – Shai Hope reveals MS Dhoni inspiration after finishing chase in style

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Shai Hope sealed a dramatic victory for his West Indies side over England with three sixes in four balls off Sam Curran in Antigua on Sunday, then called upon his players to back up their performances next week as they look to clinch a series win.

Hope’s unbeaten 109 off 83 balls was his 16th ODI century and the fastest of his career. He brought it up with a flurry of sixes to take West Indies over the line, belting a Curran full toss over wide long-on, pulling a shorter ball over deep midwicket to bring up three figures and repeating the shot to complete a four-wicket win with seven balls to spare.

“A very, very famous person, MS Dhoni – we had a chat a while ago, and he was saying, ‘You always have a lot more time than you think,'” Hope said at the post-match presentation. “That’s one thing that has stuck with me throughout the years I’ve been playing ODI cricket.

Speaking to CWI’s in-house channels, he added: “The dimensions of the field and then the wind factor there, I thought the best thing to do was to target that particular over. We knew it was a challenge to score from the other end, especially going against the breeze… regardless of what happened, I was going to try and take down that second-to-last over to give us the best chance of winning the game.

“After the second [six of the 49th over], I knew we pretty much had the game in the balance. If we had that over to finish the game, I always try to finish the game with one over to spare if I can. I don’t want to leave it to anyone else, so the aim was to finish off at the back end.”

Hope took over as West Indies’ full-time ODI captain earlier this year and while he oversaw an unsuccessful attempt at World Cup qualification in Zimbabwe, he has thrived with the bat since taking on the role. He has moved down to No. 4 after spending much of his career opening, and there has been a notable improvement in both his average and strike rate compared to his overall record.
He also became the 11th West Indies batter to reach 5000 runs in men’s ODIs, during what was his 114th innings in the format. Hope was the joint-third-fastest batter of any nationality to reach the landmark, behind Babar Azam (97) and Hashim Amla (101) and level with Viv Richards and Virat Kohli.

“It was in a winning cause, and that’s all I play for,” he said. “The stats will come as a bypass [sic] but my aim and my thing is to win games… It feels good, man. It contributed to a win, so I’m just happy that the guys got over the line.”

Hope also hailed the contribution of Romario Shepherd, who made 48 off 28 balls during an 89-run stand for the sixth wicket. “He was amazing,” Hope said. “He’s one of those guys you can depend on and he’s continued to show his worth at this level… we’re starting the series on a high and the aim is to repeat this in the second game [on Wednesday].”

West Indies’ run chase – their second-highest in men’s ODIs – was set up by Alick Athanaze and Brandon King’s 104-run opening stand. “They’re both quality players,” Hope said. “Again, it’s about how you can continue from this position. You want some consistency, not just a one-off to show the world you can do something.

“Whatever is on the board, we have to chase it. If you want to win games, we can’t only win games when we’re bowling teams out for 160 or 150: we’ve got to win from any position. That’s the belief that we need to have in the dressing room. I’m going to be pushing that regardless of what’s going on.”

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