WI in final bid
COLOMBO – Their last encounter was marred by the weather, but the West Indies and Australia are praying the elements will not come between them today in their fight for a place in Sunday’s final of the ICC World Twenty20.
After surviving a week in Kandy and the nerve-racking quarter-finals, a confident West Indies team were back in town at the Premadasa Stadium, the venue where their tour started against the same opposition.
In the first round, the Windies made 191 for eight off 20 overs. The Aussies replied with 100 for one off 9.1 overs and when rain came they were declared winners by 17 runs (Duckworth/Lewis Method).
The weather forecast is for clear skies when the match begins at 7 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. Eastern Caribbean) and Windies skipper Darren Sammy declared that while the tournament has not been the best for the West Indies, they haven’t made it this far to quit.
“We are still here in the semi-final. It shows you the belief that the team has. Everyone is willing to go out there and do the best for the fans. The goal, the motto we left the Caribbean with, is ‘One Team, One People, One Goal’. The mission is to win the World T20 tournament and we have taken it step by step,” he said.
Sammy brushed off media comments about three women being arrested and discharged for loitering in the team’s hotel.
Instead, he just answered questions yesterday, after a steady practice session, about how he viewed the journey to possibly lifting their first ever World Twenty20 cup.
“We always saw it as a 100-metre hurdles and we have two more hurdles to jump to reach the finish line. Tomorrow (today) is about jumping that hurdle. Once we jump it, we are in the final and it is just one more to go,” Sammy said.
Dwayne Bravo’s strained groin remained a concern, but he batted yesterday and was expected to return to the final XI today in place of his brother Darren.
The West Indies will be heavily dependent on their leading run scorer Chris Gayle, who has 144 runs and the inform Marlon Samuels, who has struck two half centuries.
The Trinidadian pair of Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree will lead the bowling attack on a pitch that is once again expected to favour spin.
The Premadasa has been like Australia’s home ground as they have played every match in the tournament here, a luxury only afforded them and the Indian team.
But Australia’s fallibility showed when they were beaten by 32 runs in the last match against Pakistan as their middle order received the first test of the tournament.
There is no denying the value of all-rounder Shane Watson, who is the tournament’s leading run scorer and wicket taker. But it showed that once that opening partnership with David Warner is broken early, Mike Hussey could struggle to find a partner.
Australia will consider playing his brother, veteran David Hussey, in place of Glenn Maxwell.