Twenty-six years after this country’s senior men’s football team, then known as the Strike Squad, lost a crucial Fifa World Cup qualifying game to the United States (1-0), on home soil, former...
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Gibson convinced weather denied Windies victory
DHAKA—Head coach Ottis Gibson believes if the weather had not intervened, West Indies would have pulled off another sensational victory to beat Sri Lanka in the first semifinal of the World Twenty20 on Thursday. In pursuit of 161 for victory and a place in tomorrow’s final, West Indies were struggling at 80 for four off in the 14th over when a furious rain and hail storm arrived to end play prematurely, with the Caribbean side trailing by 27 runs on Duckworth/Lewis. And though the Windies required nearly 13 per over in order to win, Gibson said the confidence in the dressing room suggested this was definitely possible. “Looking back at the journey that we set out on, all the way from Jamaica when we got together against Ireland to play a couple of games there. We lost a game and we decided there and then if we were to retain the World Cup we would have to improve with every game we played,” Gibson said in Bangladesh yesterday. “We won the next game against Ireland and then we played really well in Barbados against England, we came here and won the two warm-up games, we lost the first game against India in the tournament proper and then after that we played really well to get to the semifinals, winning and improving all the time.”
He continued: “(On Thursday night), the weather came and brought an end to the journey but I’m really proud of how the guys committed themselves to the cause, committed themselves to the journey and the way they went about their business. I have no doubt that had the rain not come last night that we would have gone on and won that game, such was the confidence within the group.” In the end, West Indies were let down by their sluggish start with the usually aggressive Chris Gayle managing just three runs from 13 balls before dragging on to Lasith Malinga, and Lendl Simmons getting just four from eight deliveries. This meant that the Windies were only 40 for three after eight overs and therefore way behind the Duckworth/Lewis par score of 108 when the rains finally came. “A lot has been said about how slowly we started but you have to give credit to the Sri Lankans. We got 17 off the first over and they went straightaway to their trump card, to Malinga and he got two wickets that set us back a little bit and we had to re-group,” Gibson explained.
“I’m sure the game was heading towards another grandstand finish but it wasn’t to be. Now we’re on our way home, disappointed obviously for it to finish the way it did but also pleased with the way we went about our business in the tournament. “Retaining the title was never going to be easy. It was going to take a huge effort and everybody was up for that.” Despite the disappointing end to the campaign, Gibson said there had been several positives over that last few weeks, the chief of which was the exceptional unity in the team. He said every player had backed each other and it had led to a gelling of the side in a way that made the unit cohesive. “The coming together of men for one cause, that was the biggest thing. It’s not always easy to get us to come together for one cause,” he pointed out. “In 2012 we did and again here—guys getting together, guys putting their heads together, guys coming up with solid plans, backing each other and supporting each other was absolutely outstanding. If we can harness that and continue to do that, not just for tournaments but consistently, I think that is where our true potential as a team will be measured.” (CMC)
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