Windies banking on Narine
West Indies captain Darren Sammy has promised that the West Indies will be "up for it" when they face England in a crucial Super Eights match of the ICC World T20 tournament today.
The two teams will clash at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, and a large crowd is expected for the contest which starts at 10 am Eastern Caribbean Time. The pitches at this picturesque venue have favoured the batsmen and another flat surface is expected today as well.
The Windies had an intense training session yesterday. And Dwayne Bravo, who missed the Ireland game with a groin strain came through the session and should slot back into the first team, probably for Andre Russell. There will be a temptation to play the leg-spinner Samuel Badree although that would mean leaving out either Ravi Rampaul or Fidel Edwards who both bowled well against Ireland.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Sammy described Sunil Narine, the attacking spin bowler, as the "trump card" and backed the world's No.1 power-hitter Chris Gayle to have a "big impact" on the match. The skipper added that all 15 members of the squad will have a huge part to play and outlined that the team has plenty possible match-winners.
"When we left home, one of the first objectives was to get into the Super Eights stage. Now we are here and we have a job to do," Sammy said. "The plan is to get through the Super Eights and take it from there."
"Everyone who comes to bowl has a big part to play. Sunil is our trump card. He has done well for us in this format and hopefully he will have a big impact on tomorrow night's game against the England line-up...
"We will look to bowl spin against them. We have quality bowlers at the top in Fidel (Edwards) and (Ravi) Rampaul and we also have (Samuel) Badree in the line-up and all of them will be considered. Hopefully we will bowl really well against England and have a good game.
Sammy's England counterpart Chris Broad however, refused to accept that England have technical issues against spin bowling. Even if he harboured doubts, it is far too late to do much about it now. The only option is to try to restore self-belief and trust that England somehow brazen it through.
"The challenge is all mental," he claimed. "It is all about getting yourself back into a positive frame of mind and reminding the guys in the team that they are good players. They have performed well to get into this England team and we have match-winners in this side.
"We just talked about our strengths. Learn from the mistakes you make but don't dwell on them. We have players who have played spin well. We have talked about how we've done that." England are trying to rebound from their embarrassing defeat to England in the group stage when they were dismissed for 80- and lost by 90 runs. But Sammy is not expecting a similar performance in today's match.
"England are the defending world champions. I don't think they will allow the last game India to play on their minds. We have our plans and just have to go out and execute them."
The West Indies qualified for the Super Eights without a win.
In the opening match against Australia, they batted brilliantly to make 191 for eight off 20 overs, but lost on Duckworth/Lewis after a heavy shower caused an early finish. In the second match they restricted Ireland to 129-6 off 20 overs but rain again intervened. Sammy said they are confident of registering their first victory against England, which would give them a huge step towards a place in the semi-finals.
"We have a lot left in the tank. We want to start off with a win and gather momentum from here," he said.