What’s next for the Soca Warriors?
I suppose that the answer to that question is more complicated than losing a football match or even a regional tournament.
Australian all rounder James Faulkner has added fuel to the World T20 tournament, with his comment that he does not like the West Indies team.
When the teams square up today in their Super 10 clash in Dhaka at 3.30pm (5.30am TT time), there is sure to be more action than just willow on leather. West Indies captain Darren Sammy said in his pre-match press conference yesterday that Faulkner should not talk. “He has to be the only cricketer that does not like the West Indies team. Even the fans here are behind us and we are the second favourite after the home team, in terms of support.
“The last time we played them we got over 200 runs and he should not be talking, it should be us but we have no time for that. It will be a tough game because both sides have good players and it will come down to who handles the pressure and executes better on the day.”
Sammy is backing his openers to do the job for him with the bat again. In the last game against Bangladesh, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith posted 97 runs for the first wicket.
Man of the match Smith made 74, while Gayle got 48. “Both Chris and Smith are hitting the ball well and we expect the same from them tomorrow. Chris is still not his explosive self but he is still getting a job done for us because we still ended with 170.”
Sammy said another key in the set-up, is the early wickets that leg-spinner Samuel Badree has been able to bring for his team. “Badree and Narine will be key for us because the spinners have been doing well in this tournament in these conditions. Badree has been giving us early wickets and we are expecting that from him again.”
“We are confident that we can put our game together and defeat the Australians, we are dangerous when we put it together and we will be coming at the Aussies.”
A decision on Denesh Ramdin’s availability will be made just before the match. The swelling on his right thumb has disappeared so he may take his position behind the stumps. Gayle ran gingerly throughout his innings against Bangladesh but Sammy shied away from whether his match-winner was injured or not. “In cricket you cannot be 100 per cent fit, you may always be carrying a niggle here or there, it is just the case with cricketers,” was his reply to queries on Gayle’s fitness.
Meanwhile, Australian opener Aaron Finch says the Aussies are willing to play carefree cricket. He was however aware of Badree who will be bowling to him at the top of the innings.
“Badree has opened the bowling for them for a few games now. He is an interesting bowler. He bowls a great length. He is someone who is hard to hit down the ground and it is a bit of a risk if you go across the line. He is someone we are going to have to come up with some pretty clear plans against.
“Narine, a lot of guys have played him in the Big Bash and in the IPL. While having faced him quite a bit, we are going to have our plans. He is still a quality bowler. He spins it both ways. Anyone who does that is going to present a challenge.”
West Indies, according to Haddin, is one of the leading T20 teams in the world and pose a major threat. Both teams have five wins each from ten T20 games so far and are also locked at two wins against one another in World T20s, although West Indies have won their last two encounters.
“West Indies have embraced T20 cricket as well as anyone else in the world,” Haddin said. “They have got their own competition now in the Caribbean and they were the winners of this tournament the last time.”
He basically said it is do or die for Australia and they will be coming hard at the Caribbean boys. “Sometimes that can relieve the pressure because you know where you stand now,” Haddin said. “There is no second chance for us. We have got to make sure that we bring our A game and deliver under pressure. We have done that well over the last four months and I see no reason why we can’t continue with that.”
Another good crowd is expected for the game which is expected to be played under 37 degrees heat under the afternoon sun in Dhaka.
The West Indies will again enjoy the crowd support, as many Bangladeshis have adopted the team, knowing fully well that their won team has little or no chance in the tournament.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Andre Fletcher, Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Krishmar Santokie, Sheldon Cottrell, Samuel Badree and Johnson Charles
Australia: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey (capt), Brad Hodge, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Doug Bollinger and Brad Hogg