Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sammy: Batting to the end was key


Man of the moment: West Indies captain Darren Sammy looks for the ball after playing a shot during his match-turning half century in the fourth one-day international against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday. —Photo: AP

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West Indies captain Darren Sammy said that batting until the final over of the innings, despite the clutch of early wickets, made the difference for his team in the fourth ODI in Mirpur. They fought their way to 211 for nine after losing half their side by the 24th over, and that total eventually proved to be too big for a Bangladesh line-up that looked all at sea against quality seam bowling.

"Looking at the way the game was unfolding, I always told myself that if we bat till the end we stand the chance of scoring 190-plus," Sammy said. "It is about applying yourself in the middle. My partnership with [Darren] Bravo was crucial. We just said 'let us try to bat deep'.

"We wanted to have a go in the last four overs. We kept losing wickets, so we had to push [launching the final surge] back. But it proved today that 212 runs was a lot [to chase] on that wicket."

Sammy's all-round performance was, ultimately, the difference between the two sides. He held firm with the bat after West Indies had fallen to 102 for six in the 32nd over from the relative comfort of 71 for one.

Sammy then had the likes of Veerasammy Permaul and Sunil Narine for company but, even now, rather risking hitting out and allowing his team to be bowled out, he kept his head. He only launched in the last three overs of the innings, taking 35 valuable runs.

"Last game it was Marlon [Samuels], today it is me. It is about players putting their hands up and doing what matters for the team," Sammy said. "As a leader, you always try to lead from the front. It gives you a good feeling inside. It won't happen all the time because it is a team sport but when you do it, it feels good."

Sammy also made a major contribution with the ball, removing Anamul Haque and Naeem Islam off successive balls in his first over before accounting for Mominul Haque in his third over.

Today's game now, for all intents and purposes, is a final, and West Indies are in the ascendancy. The pressure was on them when they returned to Dhaka from Khulna 2-0 down, and they have turned their form around as they would have liked. "It was a must-win game for us, I'm just happy that the team did what they had to do to win," Sammy said. "We have had good days in the Test series, the last [one-day] match ... We did what we had to do today, which is level the series. It sets up a big final tomorrow."