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Windies look for strong start to T20 defence

 A confident West Indies will launch the defence of their World Twenty20 title when they clash with powerhouses India in mouth-watering clash today.

The contest, scheduled for the Sher-e Bangla National Stadium, will bring together an array of the world’s finest Twenty20 stars. Chris Gayle leads the all-star cast that includes fellow teammates Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and captain Darren Sammy.

India, meanwhile, will showcase Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan Rohit Sharma and their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as they chase their second win in Group Two.

Sammy told reporters yesterday that despite the plethora of stars in the side, the key to their success in the tournament would be their ability to play as a team.

“Being defending champions what I can say is that we’ve gathered more experience. Last tournament, our senior players, our key players performed very well for us but the key was even though they performed for us, we played together as a team,” Sammy pointed out.

“This time around it is even more important that we continue to do that, with our key guys performing consistently. As a team we have more belief that we can come out and defend this tournament but it’s not going to be easy, we’ve got to focus on each game and tomorrow all our energies will be geared towards playing against India.”

He continued: “After we do that, we will sit again and look at the roadmap to the cup and analyse and come up with the plan for the next game. But tomorrow is all about India and what we can do to overcome them.”

West Indies have had a near flawless build up, beating England 2-1 in a three-match series in the Caribbean before convincingly winning both official warm-up matches here last week, against England and Sri Lanka.

However, despite the belief in the camp, Sammy said the Windies would not be overconfident. He noted that they were familiar with the Indian players having all played in the Indian Premier League together, and would carefully go about developing a game plan.

“We have a general idea of the Indians. We have a lot of guys who’ve been in the same dressing room as them and tomorrow’s match will be a keenly contested match and it’s one that we hope we come out victorious because it’s good to start the tournament on a winning note.”

The game bowls off at 9.30 a.m. Eastern Caribbean Time.


SQUADS:

WEST INDIES – Darren Sammy (Captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.

INDIA – MS Dhoni (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron.

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