Men on a mission
With just over twenty-four hours to go before their clash with England, West Indies captain Darren Sammy has warned the reigning T20 champions that his team can play “unbeatable” World Twenty20 cricket.
England face Sammy’s side in their first Super Eight game in Pallekele on Thursday.
West Indies knocked out Ireland to reach this stage and all-rounder Sammy said he was quite confident the West Indies could go all the way in the tournament.
“When we left the Caribbean, we left with one goal – to win the World T20.”
In West Indies’ first fixture in Sri Lanka they fell to a 17-run defeat to Australia in a rain-affected Duckworth/Lewis result, before beating Ireland on Monday in another match that fell victim to the weather.
Sammy is unconcerned his side have yet to complete a full 40-over game, saying: “We believe once we play to our full potential we are going to be unbeatable.
“We’ve not yet played a full game, but that’s similar to England back in the Caribbean [in 2010] where they didn’t win a game in the group stages, then went on to win the cup.”
The West Indies captain, 28, admitted his side have failed to shine in recent major tournaments, but pledged to try to reverse the trend at the World T20.
“It’s been a while since we had any silverware, since [the ICC Champions Trophy in] 2004. We’ll take it a game at a time.
“Hopefully, when we go back home, all the Caribbean fans can come and meet us at the airport like they did in 2004.”
The skipper said everyone in the camp was eagerly looking forward to the next phase of the tournament. The Windies travelled to Kandy this morning where they will play all three Super Eights matches at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
They will have a full training session tomorrow morning before taking on England at 10 a.m.
“We just believe we can go out there and win. Yes, I am aware of what happened back in the World Cup in the Caribbean, when England qualified without a win and won the tournament. As I said before, the most important thing is our belief and we just have to do well in the Super Eights,” Sammy said..
“We are here and we have strong belief in ourselves and in the team. The first goal was to reach the Super Eights and we have achieved that. Now we need to start off very well against England. This is the business end of the tournament and we mean business. We have not played a lot, we have not played a full match, so we have a lot left in us,” he added
But West Indies will not find an easy task awaiting them. England pace bowler Steven Finn has set his sights on hitting West Indies hard when the two sides meet.
Reeling from their humiliating 90-run reverse to India in Colombo last time out, England have travelled to Kandy looking to vent on the West Indies.
England and West Indies have already contested a Twenty20 international in 2012 with Stuart Broad’s men chasing down 172 with two balls to spare at Trent Bridge back in June. The West Indies showed glimpses of their batting firepower that day and Finn is well-aware of the importance of keeping players such as Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard as quiet as possible.
“They’re a very dangerous Twenty20 side,” Finn said. “We’re taking no one lightly, and it’s important that we go into this game against them in a couple of days really ready to hit them hard.
“Whether it’s me opening the bowling or the opening batsmen setting the tone, it’s important that we go out there and do that.
“As an opening bowler I have to set the tone for the team. I could get better at it; I haven’t been brilliant at doing that in the games we’ve played so far in the tournament, and I’m looking to get better again.”
Gayle is quite aware of his importance to the West Indies’ batting efforts and said though his side batted rather deep, he would not be sacrificing his wicket just because of that depth. He acknowledged that his strategy was to get settled before launching an attack on opposition bowlers.
Like his captain, Gayle said he had full confidence that the West Indies could go all the way in the tournament.