Windies ready to face Sri Lanka
West Indies will look to separate themselves from the crowd while taking a giant step towards the next round, when they clash with Sri Lanka in their second game of the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday.
They lead Group 1 following their convincing six-wicket victory over England in Mumbai last Wednesday, but are on two points along with Sri Lanka and England, who are second and third respectively based on net run rate.
However, fully aware that another win would put the Caribbean side further out front, captain Darren Sammy said there would be no letting up in the intensity with which they planned to approach the 7:30 pm (10 am Eastern Caribbean time) contest at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
“Tomorrow’s game becomes very, very important for us especially with the way the group is turning out,” Sammy warned.
“Before we came here, when we looked at the schedule, the coach did mention that every game should be played like a final and tomorrow’s no different. We have played Sri Lanka in a final before, we lost to them twice in the semis so it is very important in the context of how the group is turning out.”
He added: “It’s another game, another important game of cricket against good opposition. We are two good teams. We respect them a lot and we’ve had great games, great battles against them so tomorrow poses another exciting match.
“Hopefully we can keep on winning because that’s what we’re in the tournament here to do. Like I’ve said many times, once we do what we know we can do – and you saw it against England – [we will be successful].”
West Indies are riding on the momentum from their emphatic win over England, when they chased down 183 to win with 11 balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.
The victory was led by superstar opener Chris Gayle who struck an unbeaten, even century to become the first player to reach triple figures twice in T20 World Cup history.
Sammy said West Indies would use the pluses from the England win but were aware the Sri Lanka game represented a different challenge.
“To me the most exciting thing was that Chris batted through but [also] what was left in the dressing room. We know how destructive they can be,” he said.
“It’s about putting together a complete game. We knew the wicket in Mumbai was a 200 [run] wicket and as you saw last night [between South Africa and England], 230 was not enough.
“Our bowlers did what we had to do and then our batters, led by Chris, chased it down very well. Today, another venue, good wicket, hopefully we can have another exciting match but we come out victorious.”
Sunday’s venue is the home of Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore, whose batting is spearheaded by Gayle.
But Sammy said even though this gave West Indies a kind of home team advantage with Gayle’s knowledge of the ground, he warned that T20 was played on the day and it was less about conditions and more about winning key moments during the game.
“We have a lot of knowledge about the conditions here in India but Twenty20 is about momentum. Every ball is an event,” he explained.
“You get a wicket [and] next ball you can go for six and the momentum changes so it’s about winning those key moments and it’s just about doing the basics.
“We know what we have in the dressing room, we know what we are capable of doing. So yes, we plan for the opposition. We look at the grounds and the stats but we focus on what we can do and I know what we could do can be very destructive.”