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25 February 2024

Windies sweat over Gayle back injury for UAE clash

West Indies Chris Gayle celebrates his double century during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between the West Indies and Zimbabwe at The Manuka Oval in Canberra on February 24, 2015. (AFP)


Chris Gayle is a doubt for the West Indies' do-or-die World Cup duel against the United Arab Emirates on Sunday after struggling with a back injury.

The veteran opener did not train with the rest of the squad at Napier's McLean Park on Wednesday, remaining at the team hotel to rest.

"We'd love him to play all the games but we'll just have to manage him better," coach Stuart Williams told local media.

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Gayle, 35, blasted a World Cup record 215 in the win over Zimbabwe but his form in other games has been patchy with 36 against Ireland, four in the game with Pakistan, just three in the loss to South Africa and 21 facing India.

West Indies have just four points from five games after two wins and three defeats and need to beat the UAE handsomely to boost their run rate if they are to have any hope of squeezing into the quarter-finals.

Ireland and Pakistan, both on six points - two ahead of the West Indies - clash in Adelaide on the same day.

"Our destiny is in our own hands and on Sunday we'll know exactly what we'll have to do to qualify," added Williams.

If West Indies snatch fourth place - the best finish they can hope for - they will face undefeated New Zealand in Wellington on March 21 in the last quarter-final.

"We can only finish fourth," added the coach, who admitted he was at a loss to explain the West Indies' rollercoaster form at the World Cup.

They made 304-7 against Ireland but were defeated by four wickets before piling up 310-6 facing Pakistan on their way to a 150-run win.

Against Zimbabwe, they hit 372-2 and won by 73 runs, were bowled out for just 151 in a 257-run loss to South Africa before India dismissed them for 182 in a four-wicket win for the defending champions.

"We can beat any team on our day," insisted former international Williams. "Sometimes we have been up and sometimes down. Now we've just got to get the balance right - we will have to find our A-game on Sunday."