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Last Updated:  Saturday, 22 February, 2003, 15:53 GMT

Windies find new master blaster
By Martin Gough

Four years ago, Lance Klusener set the World Cup alight to take South Africa to the semi-finals and clinch the Man of the Tournament award.

Just when opponents thought they had got through the middle order cheaply, in came Klusener to take the match out of reach, taking the cover off the ball in the process.

During the same tournament, a 20-year-old from Jamaica made just four runs on his one-day international debut - his only match in CWC 1999.

Ricardo Powell hits out against Bangladesh
Powell has amassed 104 runs from just 63 balls
Four years later, Ricardo Powell is playing the Klusener role for the West Indies, and the Caribbean side are still being tipped to go far in the tournament.

It says a lot for Powell that he claims he cannot pinpoint any single bowler he rates so far.

"In a one-day game you know that you have to score so it doesn't matter who is bowling at you," he says. "You just have to try and score runs."

So far he has 104, but he has faced just 63 deliveries.

Brian Lara had already set South Africa up the opening match of the tournament and Powell finished them off.

He shared an unbeaten partnership of 63 in less than five overs with Ramnaresh Sarwan to set up the three-run upset.

Shaun Pollock, whose first six overs cost nine runs, saw 21 plundered off a single over at the death, Powell smashing two sixes and a four.

From now on we're going to have to win all of our games
Ricardo Powell

West Indies captain Carl Hooper describes Powell as "one of best strikers of the ball in modern day cricket".

"As the tournament goes on we're going to see a lot more of him," he warned after Powell had bludgeoned 50 from 30 balls against Bangladesh.

Powell has been compared to Viv Richards, whose ruthless batting dominated the West Indies World Cup sides of the 1970s and '80s.

"My batting is a bit like Viv but I wouldn't say that I emulate him. I'm a totally different character," Powell argues.

Powell so far lacks the confidence, even arrogance, of the Master Blaster.

"It was nice to come in and get 40-odd and the 50 against Bangladesh but that's just three games," he points out.

"From now on we're going to have to win all of our games - that's the only way we're going to win the World Cup."

With 61 one-day internationals under his belt, Powell has good reason to hold back in his proclamations.

A crashing 124, including eight sixes, in a triangular series final against India in Singapore shortly after the last World Cup marked his real international bow.

But he has only passed 50 twice since, suffering prolonged dips in form.

Like Klusener, Powell bats right down the order, although he only occasionally contributes with his off-spin in a side that usually fields just three fast bowlers.

"It's a bit hard to set targets batting at seven," he says. "But a couple of 50s, a good average and hopefully the team coming out on top."

In terms of personal targets, Powell is already halfway there.

And he will have a crucial role to play if the West Indies are to carry the trophy back to the Caribbean.





Links to more West Indies stories


 

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