Roston Chase’s ODI numbers– a tally of 345 runs and seven wickets at averages of 26.53 and 49.71 respectively–do not justify his true potential as a player.
However, he showed all his class on Wednesday when he powered West Indies to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan with a superb all-round performance in their first ODI of the series at Lucknow.
Firstly, the 27-year-old came up with an excellent spell of spin bowling during which he registered figures of 10-0-31-2 to restrict Afghanistan to a modest total of 194. His victims included two of Afghanistan’s best batsmen in Najibullah Zadran and Rahmat Shah. Zadran was dismissed caught in the slips by Jason Holder when he edged a delivery that drew him forward and turned just enough to take the outside edge. The off-spinner’s next victim, Shah, was dismissed while trying to scoop a length ball outside off, only to be caught by Holder once again at square leg.
In fact, Chase bowled relentlessly and kept hitting the right line and lengths. Not only that, but he also purchased the most turn for any spinner who bowled on this day. His deliveries often turned sharply towards off after pitching on middle and leg. He imparted good flight on the ball and varied his pace nicely all throughout his spell.
So he had done a fine job with the ball but he wasn’t done yet. A good start by the Afghan bowlers meant West Indies were reduced to 25 for 2 by the eighth over of the innings. That was when Chase joined Shai Hope at the crease. And what followed afterwards was a 163-run stand between the two batsmen, in which the former did the bulk of the scoring.
The way he came out with a positive intent completely changed the momentum of the match. Chase was looking busy at the crease. He wasn’t looking to go for big shots but he was hitting the gaps to pick up the singles and doubles, and he was also pouncing on the occasional bad deliveries to hit the boundaries. The tall right-handed batsman took the pressure off Hope completely the way he handled the world-class Afghan spinners.
His footwork was impeccable and he looked to be in complete control of each of his shots. It looked like Chase was finally going to reach the three-figure mark in ODIs. After all, he already has five centuries in Test cricket.
However, he was castled by Mujeeb ur Rahman when he tried to reach his century with a six while being on a score of 94. He judged the length of the delivery right but the wicket had slowed down quite a bit. Chase tried to pull it towards mid-wicket but he was early into his shot. As a result, the ball went on to crash straight into the stumps.
Although he didn’t get to the three-figure mark, nobody can deny the class of his innings. After all, this is the real Roston Chase. The same player who has five Test centuries and two hauls of five wickets or more to his name against top Test playing nations like India, Pakistan and England. All he needs to do now is to carry this form forward into the remaining two matches. And if he can do that, his ODI numbers will read far better by the end of the series.