Colombo, Sri Lanka – Chris Gayle says he is ready to perform his heroics on the “big stage” on Friday night when the West Indies clash with Australia in the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 tournament.
The contest will be under lights at the R Premasada Stadium and the reward for victory will be a spot in the grand finale against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Gayle, who turned 33 at the start of the tournament, is the most destructive power-hitter in the modern game and earlier this week entered the history books as the first cricketer to hit 300 sixes in Twenty20 cricket.
“Playing against Australia there will always be a lot of hype about the match. You always want to do well against a team like Australia, with all their ‘big’ names and all the really great clashes that have gone on between these two teams over the years. It won’t be an easy game for sure, but we will look to put them on the backfoot from early, whether we bowl first or bat first,” Gayle said.
This is the second time the West Indies have reached the Final Four of the ICC World T20 tournament. The first occasion was back in 2009 when the event was played in England and Gayle was at the helm.
“I remember it quite well the semis against Sri Lanka. We played quite well to get there but we didn’t quite make it to the final. We finally get a chance to be here again, this time around in Sri Lanka, so hopefully with a different opponent we can beat them and advance to the final,” Gayle said.
Looking ahead to Friday night’s match, he noted: “We played against Australia in the first round so we know what they have to offer. So it’s a matter that we go out there and play to our strengths, go for the win, try and reach that final and try and win the cup. I am confident. The mind is always key for you to go out there and execute your game plan. The tournament has been fine so far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
“The good thing about playing against them in the first game a few weeks back was that we got a good total batting first – around 190 – so we know we can post big scores. They batted well and set-up an exciting game. Our bowlers have been doing a good job for us, especially in the last game where we managed to keep New Zealand to our score. We are peaking at the right time and we will look to give the people back home something to cheer about. Reaching the final will be the Number 1 factor and from there we will look to cross that final hurdle.”
SQUAD: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith
Semi-finals at R Premadasa Stadium
Thursday, October 4: Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 16 runs
Friday, October 5: West Indies vs Australia – 7 pm
Grand Final: Sunday, October 7 – R Premadasa Stadium