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Sammy hoping for ‘killer punch’
Canberra—West Indies captain Darren Sammy yesterday appealed to his batsmen and bowlers to match their performances as fieldsmen as the West Indies prepare for today’s crucial third one-day international at Manuka Oval, Canberra.
The West Indies are two down in the series following losses at Perth. Sammy said he was thrilled with the team’s fielding display in the second one-day international last Sunday, which saw three magnificent catches and some superb work in the outfield.
The skipper held onto a one-handed catch at slip off Sunil Narine’s bowling, which was the highlight of an improved display in the field at the WACA Ground. There was also a stunning, diving take by Kieran Powell at square leg off a full-blooded flick from Usman Khawaja, while Darren Bravo threw himself to his right at cover point to pluck a sizzling cut by Aaron Finch out of the air.
Sammy is hoping the team can have a repeat fielding effort as well as improved batting and bowling efforts in today’s match. “We have been working hard on our fielding and as you could see it is paying off. We keep working hard to improve in all three departments so it was pleasing to see the way we held onto our catches, which helped to give us a brilliant start,” Sammy said.
“Powell’s catch at square leg was superb and gave us a breakthrough. That is the kind of commitment we asked for when we discussed our plans before the start, and it was great to see the way we got cracking. In the case of Bravo, the ball was hit with great power and went to him quite quickly so he had to hang on to it. With mine, it was just instinct and reflexes. I started to move to my right, but when I saw the edge I shifted back and got my left hand up at the perfect time.”
Despite the great catches, West Indies lost the match by 54 runs. Powell made a career-best 83 and Dwayne Bravo hit 45 in a century stand which pulled the innings around from 33-3 and put the Windies in with a good shot at victory. However, once that partnership ended, the innings folded.
The day/night encounter will be the first one-day international at the picturesque venue, and a capacity crowd of close to 13,000 is expected for the historic match as the capital city celebrates its centenary.
First ball is 2.20 pm (11.20 pm Tuesday Eastern Caribbean time/10.20 pm Jamaica time). The Windies had a taste of the conditions when they scored over 300 against the Prime Minister’s XI in the tour opener last week.
Sammy added: “We are hoping to bring that and the other aspects of the game to the field when we face the Aussies. Powell and Dwayne Bravo played really well and I really want to commend them on the way they played.
What we need is for the other batsman, like myself, to come on board and put some runs on the board. From now on, every game is a final and we have to play it like that. The bowlers gave us a good start but we weren't able to close them out with that killer punch, so we are working hard to get all three disciplines spot on and look to click,” Sammy said.
“As I was walking into the ground I saw a sign which said ‘One Big Year For Canberra’ and we are looking at this as ‘one big game for West Indies.’ This is history in the making so we want to be a part of this and score a win and leave here 2-1. When we played here last week over 630 runs were scored—spectators took some good catches in the crowd, the atmosphere was fantastic and we expect the same again.
“This is a crucial game...we have to play well with bat, ball and in the field. We felt we should have won the second match. We have been training well but it is on the cricket pitch where it all matters. We have to seize those key moments, that’s the challenge we face and the one we will stand up to,” the Windies captain added. “The wicket is a very good. I guess it was a very good outing and we expect the same tomorrow. From now on every game is a final for us, and we’ve got to play it like that.”
The final two matches will be on Friday at Sydney Cricket Ground and on Sunday at Melbourne Cricket Ground. The teams will also play a one-off T20 international at the Gabba, Brisbane, on Wednesday.
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