West Indies playing with Hope ahead of Pakistan CWC opener

Shai Hope (Getty Images)
Shai Hope (Getty Images)

Nottingham - Jason Holder sounded a warning for West Indies' World Cup opponents ahead of their opening game against Pakistan on Friday, saying his team are playing with a smile on their faces.

The two-times world champions had to battle to reach the World Cup in England and Wales, reaching the tournament via a qualifying competition in Zimbabwe last year.

Since then they have found form, with batsmen Chris Gayle and Shai Hope particularly impressive,  squaring a home series against top-ranked England 2-2 and then reaching the final of a tri-series in Ireland.

Holder was positive on the eve of the game at Trent Bridge, with his team boosted by a 91-run win over a formidable New Zealand side in a warm-up game in which they scored a mammoth 421 runs.

"One thing I like coming into this tournament is that every player is in a good frame of mind. Everybody is playing with a smile on their face, and I think that's how we play our best cricket," said Holder, captaining in his second World Cup.

"We're fearless, we enjoy what we're doing and we enjoy one another's company. I can safely say within the group we've got that."

Holder said Hope's consistent scoring was a major factor for the West Indies.

"Shai has been carrying some form for a long time in the limited-overs format, and he's really confident," said Holder of the 25-year-old batsman, who has hit five hundreds and four half-centuries in his past 16 ODI innings.

"I think he's worked out pretty much his method of scoring in this format. As I say, it's been very, very consistent, which as a group we've probably lacked in the recent past."

Holder played down the hype around his batting line-up, tipped to possibly break the 500-run barrier for the first time.

"Look, I don't want to sit here and try to pre-determine what's going to happen, but I just think in this situation we play a normal cricket game," said Holder, whose team were involved in a world-record 46 sixes in a match against England in Grenada.

Holder said his team would not take anyone for granted even though they are facing a Pakistan team who have lost their past 10 completed ODIs.

"We just want to be as professional as we possibly can, not take anything for granted. I don't think we're in a position to take anything for granted," said Holder.

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