Kandy, Sri Lanka – Marlon Samuels made a fighting half-century but was on the losing side as West Indies were floored by Sri Lanka on Saturday night, in their second Group 1 Super Eights match in the International Cricket Council’s World T20 2012.
The stylish right-hander made 50 off 35 balls, but the West Indies could only reach 129-5 off 20 overs in front a full house at the picturesque Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Samuels struck four fours and two sixes – the second one a mighty blow which travelled 105 metres over the bowler’s head. It was the second half-century for Samuels, who made 50 when the West Indies played against Australia in the first round nine days ago.
He shared a third-wicket partnership of 65 with vice captain Dwayne Bravo, who made 40 off 34 balls with four boundaries and two sixes, as they led a recovery after the Windies lost openers Johnson Charles and Chris Gayle with just 16 runs on the board in the sixth over.
Asked to defend a moderate score, the Windies’ bowlers tried hard but Sri Lanka strolled to 130-1 to win by nine wickets with 28 balls remaining. The result left West Indies third in the group behind leaders Sri Lanka (on points) and England (on net run rate). The Windies will take on New Zealand on Monday afternoon, a match they will need to win as they bid to reach the semi-finals.
“We were caught a little on the back foot today by the way the pitch played and they way they bowled,” Samuels admitted “…but we will put this defeat behind us and look forward to bigger and better things against New Zealand.
“We are still positive and we are looking forward to Monday’s game. We won’t be taking anything for granted, even though we beat them quite convincingly in all three formats when we played against them in the Caribbean recently.
Samuels added: “This is a different part of the world we’re playing in now and despite the fact that they lost two matches (in the Super Eights stage), they are playing some good cricket and cannot be taken lightly. I’m sure our team will come with their A-game.”
Samuels started his innings slowly but blossomed close to the end of the innings with some powerful shots, mostly through the off-side. “Bravo came and joined me at the wicket and he was striking the ball much better than me at that stage and I decided to play the support role. I knew once I was still there I could step up the pace at the end, and after he got out it was my time to take charge,” he explained.
The allrounder has developed two minor injuries, which have reduced his bowling quota but he said nothing will stop him from playing in the remainder of the tournament. He has a sore right shoulder and slight pain in his left elbow, but battled hard against England last Thursday and again against Sri Lanka.
“This is the World Cup (for Twenty20 cricket) and when you come to the World Cup you don’t let anything stand in your way. I have two slight problems at the moment but I won’t let these problems make me sit out a game. I’m here to play my role and I’m going to go for it. I will continue to ‘ice’ and put in some background work and come out there and give 150 percent for the West Indies,” the 31-year-old said.
West Indies will have a training session at the Asgiriya Ground on Sunday morning. They will face New Zealand on Monday at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium at 3:30 pm (6 am Eastern Caribbean Time/5 am Jamaica Time).
West Indies Super Eight matches
Thursday, Sept 27: beat England by 15 runs at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Saturday, Sept 29: lost to Sri Lanka by 9 wickets at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Monday, Oct 1: vs New Zealand at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 3:30 pm
Thursday, Oct 4: Super 8 Group 1-1 vs Super 8 Group 2-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Friday, Oct 5: Super 8 Group 2-1 vs Super 8 Group 1-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Grand Final: Sunday, Oct 7 – R Premadasa Stadium