Jason Holder was left with a “bitter pill to swallow” as his side failed to defend their highest-ever ODI total against England.
Despite making 360 for 8, their fourth-highest ODI total and highest in the Caribbean, West Indies subsided to a six-wicket defeat against an England team that cruised to their victory target.
And while Holder accepted his side’s bowlers could “tighten up” in future games, he was adamant that the main cause of defeat was their inability to accept the numerous chances England’s batsmen offered.
Jason Roy, who won the Man-of-the-Match award for his 65-ball century, was missed four times, while Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow also received lives.
“We just didn’t hold our chances and the chances we put down were crucial,” Holder said. “Our bowlers did create opportunities, but we didn’t hold them.
“Credit to Jason Roy: he played really well and put us under pressure up front. And also Joe Root kept the tempo going and played an outstanding innings for them. But when you miss two quality players like that, they make you pay.
“We’ve got to be a little clearer with our bowling plans. We bowled quite a few loose deliveries and we can tighten up with that. But I thought our combination was right; we’ve just got to hold our chances. If you drop quality players like Roy and Root and Jonny Bairstow then they make you pay.
“We’ve got to be a bit better in the field. I felt the energy and body language could have been a lot better. That would give the bowlers some momentum to work with.”
Holder also dismissed any criticism of Chris Gayle, who made 135, defending the slow start to his innings.
“Credit to our batters,” he said. “We had enough runs. I thought Chris played a really good innings. He took a bit of time upfront, got himself set and then put pressure back on the spinners in the middle and forced Eoin Morgan to bring back the seamers back a bit earlier. I felt he held the innings together and gave other batters a chance to express themselves.”
Morgan, meanwhile, praised his side’s belief in chasing such a large total – it was England’s largest successful chase in their ODI history and the third-highest successful chase in all ODIs – and the “outstanding” contribution of the opening pair of Roy and Bairstow.
“We spoke at the halfway stage about the fact we have been in this situation before and we do believe we can chase big totals,” Morgan said. “We bat very deep. The manner we started in set the tone of the innings. Jason and Jonny were outstanding. At no stage did we feel we were under pressure to up the rate.
“We were going at a steady clip and to have guys like that continuously putting pressure on your opening bowlers is not only difficult to play against but difficult to captain against as well. The ability to put your best ball away for four or six is heart-breaking as a bowler.
“For Jason to go on and play such a commanding innings really sets up a big run chase. It’s amazing the way he plays. It’s brilliant. People will forget Joe Root scored a hundred there, he made it look very easy, but we’re so fortunate to have a guy like that who can be our rock. And he’s no slouch.”
The second ODI takes place in Barbados on Friday. England may well look to rest Chris Woakes, who has been struggling with a knee problem in recent weeks, though West Indies maintain they have no immediate plans to call-up a replacement bowler for the injured Kemar Roach.