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Windies day in Dhaka
West Indies cricket will be on parade for the world to see today, as both the men and women will play semi-final clashes in the ICC World T20 tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
The West Indies women will hope to bring glory and reach the finals when they tussle with Australia in the day game starting at 2.30 pm (4.30 am T&T time), while the men will take on Sri Lanka in the night cap game starting at 7 pm (9 am T&T time).
With the West Indies getting a warm-up victory against Sri Lanka and also defeating them in the finals of the World T20 two years ago, they would start with the edge but skipper Darren Sammy downplayed that during the press conference yesterday.
“It’s just another game of cricket. We focus solely on that opposition, cricket is not what happened before, it is what happens on the day. We did defeat them in the World Cup finals last time and in the warm-up game before this tournament but they have been playing good cricket and we have a lot of respect for them.”
The team held a rigorous training session at the Dhaka Academy yesterday is searing heat and the management focused on specific aspects of the game, geared towards facing the Sri Lankans.
“We know what we have to do to win. We practiced on the way we want to play tomorrow and we need to go out and execute our plan and improve on the areas that need improving. We have been peaking at the right time and doing some good things and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
This is the fifth edition of the tournament and the West Indies could become the first nation to repeat as champions. “We left the Caribbean with the motivating factor as being the first team to repeat as champions. The last time around our motto was ‘one team one goal’ and that goal was to become the champions. This time around the motto is similar ‘one team one goal’ but the goal this time around is to defend our title.
“We are confident we can do it if we play the brand of cricket we have played in the last three games. What we did was seize the right moments and it worked out for us.”
Sammy said one of the aspects of improvement his team would look at was rotating the strike more during the middle overs. We will have Chris (Gayle) and Dwayne (Smith) going hard at the top and once they get us a good start then the likes of (Lendl) Simmons and (Marlon) Samuels can rotate the strike in the middle and Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin and myself can go hard at the end.”
Sri Lanka’s main weapon on the slow track would be left arm spinner Rangana Herath but Sammy is welcoming him. “We have been losing wickets to the off-spinners, so we welcome the left arm spinner and hopefully we can do well against him.
“The key tomorrow (today) is holding and doing the right things. So far we have done this barring the game against India that we lost. We need to continue that process. Normally after a game the night before the guys would want a rest but not these guys. They are here today to train and this reprsents their focus and commitment to the cause.
“We have two more steps and once we are in the finals anything can happen.”
The Sri Lankans have been playing at Chittagong where the pitch has been quicker with the ball coming unto the bat. They will be greeted by the Dhaka pitch that is dry and offering generous turn and bounce for the spinners. This should also delight them, as their spin stocks are quite impressive.
Sri Lanka cricket team’s English coach Paul Farbrace feels that West Indies’ triumph in the last edition of the ICC World T20 will have no bearing when the two teams lock horns.
“The simple fact is that it was then 2012 and this is now. The last game will have no bearing whatsoever. Twenty20 is about whoever turns up on that particular day. Form goes out of the window. It’s about making sure we’re ready and focused. What happened two years ago won’t even be talked about, I can assure you,” Farbrace said on the eve of the match.
With Rangana Herath’s stunning performance against New Zealand, it will be a selection headache as regular captain Dinesh Chandimal will be coming in after serving one-match suspension due to slow over-rate during England game.
Now Sri Lanka will have to see as to what they do with Ajantha Mendis and Herath, who is in tremendous form.
“It’s a lovely headache to have. We know we’ve got some high quality spin bowlers in our team and it gives us a really good headache. There’s been plenty of discussion and there’ll be plenty more before the coin goes up tomorrow night.”
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Krishmar Santokie, Samuel Badree, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Ravi Rampaul and Sheldon Cottrell.
Sri Lanka: Denesh Chandimal (capt), Lasith Malinga, Tillakeratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lahiru Thirimanne and Chaturanga de Silva.