All to play for
ST JOHN’S – West Indies coach Ottis Gibson believes today’s decisive third One-Day International against England is equivalent to a championship final, and says he expects the regional side to treat the game with that level of importance.
On the other hand, England captain Stuart Broad has revealed that his side has been buoyed by last Sunday’s victory, and his boys are the favourites to win the series.
It will all be decided today at the Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The hosts went down by three wickets in the second ODI two days after claiming an exciting 13-run victory in the first contest.
“We’re building towards the 2015 World Cup and we’ve got to look at this game as such. This could be the World Cup final for us so we’ve for to get our ‘final faces’ on . . . and come out and approach it in that way,” Gibson said about today’s match.
“We’re one game away from winning a series against a team ranked higher than us, which is a good achievement, so there’s all to play for and hopefully the guys are up for it.”
England will be up as well, according to their skipper. “Winning close games give the guys confidence and belief. We’ve lacked that and I think that showed in the middle overs where we lost those four quick wickets. But we should take a lot from winning this game,” Broad said.
“We’re going to have close games in the next five, six weeks; there’s no doubt about that. And it’s a much better feeling winning than losing so we’ve got to keep working hard to make sure we get these more often.”
He added: “Confidence will be high [and] momentum obviously with us [going into the final ODI], and if we do what we did with the ball today we’ll stand a fantastic chance because we looked really hard to score off and we squeezed them.
“We’ll have a meeting and clear up where we want to improve, but we did a lot of good things Sunday and I’d like us all to focus on them.”
West Indies were always up against it on Sunday after they were dismissed for 159 off 44.2 overs, after being sent in by England. Only Lendl Simmons with a top score of 70 got past 20, as the Windies’ batting struggled for the second straight game.
Simmons inspired two partnerships – 51 with Darren Bravo (13) for the fourth wicket and a further 52 for the fifth wicket with captain Dwayne Bravo (20) – to pull West Indies around from 30 for three in the ninth over.
However, once captain Bravo fell, the hosts lost their last six wickets for 26 runs as left-arm spinner Stephen Parry (3-32) and off-spinner James Tredwell (2-39) got stuck into the lower order.
Simmons’ half-century followed up his 65 in Friday’s first ODI and Gibson singled him out for praise.
“He has played very well. He’s done the job and it has always been sort of a restoration job trying to repair the damage that’s been done at the top,” Gibson noted.
“He usually opens but is batting in the middle order and he’s really holding up the middle order as he showed in the last two games. I’m really pleased with how he’s playing and hopefully that form continues through the next match and into the T20s.”