West Indies can “take the World Cup by storm” with their aggressive “bumper warfare” style of bowling attack, says former England spinner Graeme Swann.
The pace attack of Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and captain Jason Holder ripped through Pakistan to set up a dominant seven-wicket win at Trent Bridge.
“Their approach is brilliant; it’s shocking and unexpected,” said Swann.
“Everyone expects wide yorkers, slower balls, but it was vintage stuff.”
- Match report: Hostile bowling crushes Pakistan
- TMS podcast: Windies humiliate Pakistan with bouncer barrage
- Full scorecard
Six wickets in the pitiful Pakistan innings of 105 fell to short bowling, with Russell in particular bowling almost exclusively quick bouncers.
The largely Pakistan-supporting crowd booed at times, wanting the umpires to give wides against Russell, but his deliveries were fair.
“No-one expects this any more – to run up and just get a barrage of short-pitched bowling,” said Swann.
“If it’s armpit height, it’s not called as the one short ball you’re allowed for the over. So if you’re skilful enough to bowl four, five of those an over, against a team like Pakistan who are notoriously hook happy, or flap happy as we call it, they’re going to take them on.
“West Indies just played an old-fashioned game, actually, that may just take this World Cup by storm because people simply aren’t used to it any more.
“It was a very simple method of bumper warfare. It was very good to watch.”
When asked if West Indies had an attack that can overwhelm opponents throughout the tournament, Russell said: “Yes, for sure.”
He added he was “annoyed” to be referred to as a medium pacer on the big screen when coming on to bowl.
“A lot of people have been saying I’m in the team as a big hitter but people don’t remember that I’m a fast bowler,” he said.
“They underestimate me and I’ve been getting jealous in the last two years that people have me as a medium pacer.
“But I showed here that I can bowl 90mph and they should put some respect on my name.”
‘Bouncers are part of cricket’
Sir Curtly Ambrose, who took 225 one-day wickets for West Indies between 1988 and 2000, said that aggressive, short-pitched bowling remains an important tactic in the game.
“Cricket is cricket and bouncers are part of cricket,” he said.
“I believe West Indies’ plan worked to perfection. They really hustled the Pakistan batsman, who had no answer, and they were really destroyed in the way they play.
“There’s no better sight in cricket than a great fast bowler versus a great batsman. Sadly it’s not [often] there any more.”
West Indies face Australia next – on Thursday – while Pakistan are likely to come up against more of the same against England on Monday.