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WI pumped up


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MIRPUR – Buoyant captain Darren Sammy says West Indies are highly motivated to become the first team to retain the World Twenty20 title as they prepared for the first semi-final against Sri Lanka today.
“That’s something no one has done before and we hope we can do it,” Sammy said yesterday. “It’s all about momentum and we feel we have shown that we are a dangerous side.”
The Caribbean side began their title defence with arguably the best T20 batsman in Chris Gayle and the format’s two best bowlers in legspinner Samuel Badree and offspinner Sunil Narine.
Those three have performed, and some of the team have showed off some depth thanks to big-hitting allrounders Sammy and Dwayne Bravo producing whirlwind knocks to eliminate Australia and Pakistan.
Sammy got 42 off 20 deliveries against Pakistan and 34 off 13 against Australia while Dwayne Bravo had 46 off 26 against Pakistan and 27 off 12 against Australia.
“The team spirit and never-say-die attitude has been our strong point. The make-up of the side is such that it allows our openers Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith to play freely,” Sammy said in reference to the rearguard abilities.
But Sammy cautioned it was all about delivering again.
“After our loss to India in the first match, everyone thought we had no chance of making the knockouts, but here we are,” he said.
Badree and Narine bagged three wickets each against Pakistan but Sri Lanka can be expected to adjust quickly to conditions they are more familiar with.
Group One winners Sri Lanka have reached two World T20 finals, only to lose to England in 2009 and the West Indies in 2012. Sri Lanka have also been the losing finalists at the last two World Cups won by Australia in 2007 and by India in 2011.
Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace, though, said losing in finals did not go against Sri Lanka.
“One way of looking at it is that we lose in finals,” the Englishman said. “You could also say that the team always does well and goes through to finals.”
Lasith Malinga remains a feared bowler and can be expected to be backed by Nuwan Kulasekara, while left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is suddenly an important factor after recording the tournament’s best figures of 5-3 against New Zealand in their semi-final decider on Monday.
Asked if he was fretting over picking between Herath and Ajanth Mendis, the coach said it was good to have choices.
“It’s a lovely headache to have (to choose between the two spinners). The pitch at Mirpur will probably help spinners more but it’s also about bowling at the right pace, like Herath did the other day,” Farbrace added.
The second semi-final will be between Group Two winners India and South Africa tomorrow.