COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- West Indies bowlers did an excellent job on Monday night against Ireland but rain had the final say in their Group B ICC World T20 match at the R Premadasa Stadium.
The Windies were accurate from the very first ball when Fidel Edwards knocked over the stumps of William Porterfield and they kept the Irish in check to limit them to just 129-6 off 19 overs in the match cut short by the inclement weather.
Chris Gayle led the bowling with two wickets with his quick off-spin. He brought the crowd to life with the new “Gangnam Style” dance after he took both wickets. Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy and spinner Sunil Narine all picked up a wicket to help maintain the pressure.
West Indies never got a chance to start their reply as the heavy showers forced the officials to call off the match. The result allowed West Indies to qualify for the Super Eights stage – as they finished the preliminary round second behind Australia in Group B.
Sammy spoke after the match and was clearly delighted with the bowling effort. He had special praise for Rampaul, who was good at the start of the innings and at the death, and Gayle, who had his first bowl in international cricket this year.
“I back our bowlers to come good. This was a much improved performance from the last game (against Australia). Big up to Ravi the way he came back in this game. He must have been a little down on confidence but the mettle he showed out there tonight is good for us going forward in the tournament,” Sammy said.
“To have Gayle bowling in international cricket for the first time after a while, came out good for us, so we have a lot of bowling options and I back my bowlers to restrict teams.”
The skipper said everyone in the camp was eagerly looking forward to the next phase of the tournament. The Windies will travel to Kandy on Tuesday morning where they will play all three Super Eights matches at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
They will have a full training session on Wednesday morning before their first match is against defending champions England on Thursday. First ball is 7:30 pm (10 am Eastern Caribbean Time/9 am Jamaica Time).
“We just believe we can go out there and win. Yes, I am aware of what happened back in the World Cup in the Caribbean, when England qualified without a win and won the tournament. As I said before, the most important thing is our belief and we just have to do well in the Super Eights,” Sammy said.
“Obviously, England are the defending champions and we don’t want to underestimate anybody. We just need to go out there and bowl properly and execute our plans. Not just (Sunil) Narine, our fast bowlers also bowled quite well today and everybody seems to be in good shape for the game against England. I am looking forward to it,” the 28-year-old added.
“We are here and we have strong belief in ourselves and in the team. The first goal was to reach the Super Eights and we have achieved that. Now we need to start off very well against England. This is the business end of the tournament and we mean business. We have not played a lot, we have not played a full match, so we have a lot left in us.”
West Indies Super Eights schedule
Wednesday, September 26: Training at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 9 am
Thursday, September 27: vs England at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 7:30 pm
Friday, September 28: Training at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 2 pm
Saturday, September 29: vs Sri Lanka at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 30: Training at Asgiriya Ground, Kandy – 9 am
Monday, October 1: vs New Zealand at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – 7:30 pm
Thursday, October 4: Super 8 Group 1-1 vs Super 8 Group 2-2 - R Premadasa Stadium
Friday, October 5: Super 8 Group 2-1 vs Super 8 Group 1-2 - R Premadasa Stadium
Grand Final: Sunday, October 7 - R Premadasa Stadium