Colombo, Sri Lanka – Sunday, October 7, 2012 is the big day. The day Darren Sammy and the West Indies team have been planning for and thinking about for a very long time.
At 7 pm (9:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time/8:30 am Jamaica Time) they will face their destiny as they take on Sri Lanka in the grand final of the ICC World T20 tournament. A crowd of 35,000 is expected at the R Premadasa Stadium for the biggest event on this year’s cricketing calendar.
“To win this would be massive,” said Sammy as he addressed the media on Saturday afternoon. “This is the World T20 final and we are just one step away from lifting the trophy. The team is ready – every man is the dressing room is ready, the fans are ready, the world is ready. Our fans have been craving success. We all know that when we do well, the people in the Caribbean are very, very happy. Work stopped yesterday for a few hours back at home (during the semi-final against Australia). It would mean everything to us as players as well as the coaching staff. It will give us a big boost.
“For me, it’s going to be a memorable occasion as captain, but I am more focussed on the team and the Caribbean people,” added the Windies Number 88. “I have been playing for just a few years, but the fans have been supporting the team for a number of years. It’s all about them, the people who come and watch us play, wake up early in the morning, stay up late at night to watch their team playing.
“We left home on a mission and it is just one more hurdle to jump. Sri Lanka has won all their last four matches and we have peaked at the right time. We want to have our party. We Caribbean people know how to party, we enjoy parties,” he said.
West Indies stormed into the final with a spectacular performance against Australia on Friday night. It was a near perfect Twenty20 performance as they scorched 205-4 off their 20 overs and then bowled out the Aussies for 131.
“We were all pumped up. We had our team meeting and our plans were very clear,” said Sammy. “Chris (Gayle) and Marlon (Samuels) set it up at the top and (Kieron) Pollard, who had not delivered in the tournament, finished off our batting innings when the big game came.”
Sammy added: “Sri Lanka are a different opponent. We scraped through to the semis, we always said we’ve not played our best cricket. We came to the party all-round yesterday and we just have to do it again tomorrow. The mindset, the belief – and I always stress on the belief in the dressing room – is that we could overcome any obstacle or any opponent or any team.
”We believe we could do that against Sri Lanka. It’s going to be difficult, but it’s just one more hurdle that we’re looking to jump. We needed our ‘A’ game to beat Australia and we have to do play a touch better to beat Sri Lanka – we have to bring our ‘A plus’ game and we believe we can do that.”
The West Indies team have received many special messages from supporters and fans all around the world. And Sammy revealed that one message came from Clive Lloyd, the legendary captain who led the West Indies in the all-conquering era and won the World Cup in 1975 and 1979.
“This morning I got an email from Lloyd saying he was very proud of what the team is doing and that the Caribbean people are very happy. He told us just to go out and win. He also reminded me that the only time success comes before work is in the dictionary and urged us to continue in the way we have been doing. Many people are rooting for us this time. The words from a legend like Mr Lloyd are the biggest motivation for the guys who will go out and play in the final,” Sammy said.