Kandy, Sri Lanka – Darren Sammy has promised that the West Indies will be “up for it” when they face England in a crucial Super Eights match of the ICC World T20 tournament on Thursday night.
The two teams will clash at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, and a large crowd is expected for the contest which starts at 7:30 pm (10 am Eastern Caribbean Time/9 am Jamaica). The pitches at this picturesque venue have favoured the batsmen and another flat surface is expected on Thursday as well.
The Windies had an intense training session on Wednesday after which Sammy spoke to the media about the side’s readiness for the big occasion. He described Sunil Narine, the attacking spin bowler, as the “trump card” and backed the world’s Number 1 power-hitter Chris Gayle to have a “big impact” on the match. The skipper added that all 15 members of the squad will have a huge part to play and outlined that the team has plenty possible match-winners.
“When we left home one of the first objectives was to get into the Super Eights stage. Now we are here and we have a job to do,” Sammy said. “The plan is to get through the Super Eights and take it from there. We left home thinking we can win this tournament. We have the quality in the dressing room to win this tournament. We now have to go out and display that quality and take it game by game. We will focus on England tomorrow and then onto the next match. Hopefully we can progress and win this tournament because the Caribbean people need to see some silverware.
“Everyone who comes to bowl has a big part to play. Sunil is our trump card. He has done well for us in this format and hopefully he will have a big impact on tomorrow night’s game against the England line-up. Chris loves being back and he loves the hype of Twenty/20. He has been excellent for us. We believe he can also have a big impact. The fans love watching him play and the fans love watching West Indies play. It is going to be a very interesting game tomorrow,” Sammy added.
“We will look to bowl spin against them. We have quality bowlers at the top in Fidel (Edwards) and (Ravi) Rampaul and we also have (Samuel) Badree in the line-up and all of them will be considered. Hopefully we will bowl really well against England and have a good game. Everyone will have a role to play. We have to have the consistency to bowl well on this pitch. Watching it on TV, it (the ball) seems to travel … I hope a few of the England bowlers will ‘travel’ as well. So far the games played here have been seeing big scores. Restricting them to a ‘chaseable’ total will be major for us or setting a big total if we bat first.”
The West Indies qualified for the Super Eights without a win. In the opening match against Australia they batted brilliantly to make 191-8 off 20 overs, but lost on Duckworth/Lewis after a heavy shower caused an early finish. In the second match they restricted Ireland to 129-6 off 20 overs but rain again intervened. Sammy said they are confident of registering their first victory against England, which would give them a huge step towards a place in the semi-finals.
“We have a lot left in the tank. We will to start off with a win and gather momentum from here,” he said.
West Indies Super Eight schedule
Thursday, Sept 27: vs England at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 7:30 pm
Saturday, Sept 29: vs Sri Lanka at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 7:30 pm
Monday, Oct 1: vs New Zealand at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 3:30 pm
Thursday, October 4: Super 8 Group 1-1 vs Super 8 Group 2-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Friday, October 5: Super 8 Group 2-1 vs Super 8 Group 1-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Grand Final: Sunday, October 7 – R Premadasa Stadium