West Indies‘ low scoring rate has come under severe criticism after Bangladesh scripted the second highest successful run chase in World Cup history, but Shai Hope defended his 121-ball 96, saying he looked to add stability with wickets falling regularly in the middle-overs. Bangladesh chased down a target of 322 with 8.3 overs to spare and Windies captain Jason Holder said they had been under-par as far as scoring rate was concerned. But wicketkeeper-batsman Hope brushed it aside, claiming that his main aim was to add solidity to a side that has been losing wickets with regularity in the middle-overs during the ongoing 50-over showpiece.

“Whenever I step to the crease, it’s a case of batting as long as possible. Don’t leave it for anyone else in the final overs, you just have to take responsibility,” Hope was quoted as saying by ICC website. Seventh in the table after three losses from five games, the West Indies now face an uphill task to make the World Cup semi-finals and Hope promised to do ‘whatever he can’ to help the West Indies “I can massively improve it (the strike rate). Whatever I can do to improve, I’ll do that,” he said.

“But it was a bit of a difficult spot for me in the sense that we keep losing wickets in the middle overs and putting the lower half under a bit of pressure. Having said that we need to keep the innings together and get as many runs as we can, especially in the back-end,” added the 25-year-old. Next up is a game against New Zealand, in Manchester on Saturday, and Hope said now is the time for major soul-searching if he and his teammates are to turn their form around. “It’s now must-win. We have to put everything into getting those runs. As a team, we have to go back to the drawing board, find solutions and go and win the game,” said Hope.