Dwayne Bravo’s sensational catch against Australia
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- For West Indies captain Darren Sammy the equation is simple. As he told reporters on Monday, it is “go big or go home” as they looked forward to their match against Pakistan in the ICC World T20 2014 tournament.
The two teams both have four points from three matches – two wins and one defeat – and will go head-to-head on Tuesday night at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. The winners will advance to the semi-finals. First ball is 7:30 pm (9:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time/8:30 am Jamaica Time).
“It’s a do or die for us... go big or go home. This is an important game against Pakistan, who are playing very well at the moment. But as we said before we left home, we came here to retain the title, so we will give this all we have. We’re going to do everything to defend our title,” Sammy said.
“Tomorrow’s not going to be an easy game. The thing is when we left home, we said by the time we reach the final Super 10 match against Pakistan, we’ll know exactly what we need to do, and now we’re only going to focus on what we have to do against Pakistan to win.”
Sammy was speaking after the defending champions had a full training session at the match venue. The captain played a crucial role in the team’s success so far. He scored a match-winning 34 not out off 13 balls – including 12 off the final over – to secure a huge victory against Australia last Friday.
“The people of the Caribbean really enjoyed the win. Everybody was aware of the build-up towards the game. It was an exciting match, a match where West Indies had to fight to come out on top. But they are also aware that we are not into the semis as well, and the message is just to go out and do well against Pakistan and make sure we get to the semis and take it from there. Tomorrow is a very important match for both teams, like it was against Australia, and hopefully we could repeat the same thing by winning.”
Sammy spoke of the Windies’ game-plan to combat the strong Pakistani spin attack.
“Whatever approach we come with, we definitely have to rotate the strike. It is something we’ve been working on and hopefully we can rotate the strike and get the boundaries in between, and play much better against spin than we’ve done in the past.
“We’ve prepared ourselves, and we knew coming down to our fourth game it would be Pakistan and we knew exactly what we have to do, and spin is something that we have to conquer in that game. With that said, we back ourselves, put our runs on the board and defend it, or if it’s the other way around, restrict them to a low total and chase it down like we did against Australia, but hopefully it’s not 170 we chase.”
Saqlain Mushtaq, the former Pakistan off-spinner, is the West Indies assistant coach and Sammy outlined that he has worked closely with all members of the squad, including Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree – who are the top-ranked bowlers in the ICC World T20 rankings.
“Saqlain has been a good addition to us, especially with the spinners. We have the Number 1 and Number 2 spinners in our dressing room as well. We have been practicing the way we want to go out and play, whether it be rotating that ball in the middle, we know we could get the boundaries, so we just have to do that,” Sammy noted.
“You respect your opposition, but at the end of the day, we have shown that on any given day, the best bowler can go for many runs, like that final against Sri Lanka. We have our plans, we have to go out and execute them, and we believe we can do that.”
Meanwhile, Dwayne Bravo, who played a crucial role in last Friday’s win over Australia, is ready to do it all over again when the West Indies face Pakistan on Tuesday.
The livewire allrounder scored a crucial 27 not out off 12 balls in a whirlwind partnership with skipper Darren Sammy, to see West Indies to victory. Bravo also put his body on the line when he held a sensational catch at deep mid-off which helped to restrict the Australian scoring.
“It was an exciting game for us. We were really pumped up for that game. We are pumped up for all the games, but that game was more special for us. We enjoyed the victory and celebrated in the dressing room,” Bravo said looking back at the crucial win.
“The intensity will always be there. That game wasn’t the semi-final or final. The game against Pakistan is important for both the teams. I know it will be a nail-biting game. Come that game, we will be aware of what exactly we need to do. It’s going to be a very good cricket match. This is a very tough group and the Group of Death. We need to play well and then we look forward to playing in the semi-final,” Bravo said.
“The captain says that we haven’t played to potential, I don’t think any team has played to potential. We want to have a look at the things we can improve on and analyse our strengths and weaknesses and improve the areas that we are short in. We enjoyed our victory against Australia, but the Pakistan game is the most important for us. We need to win that game and get to the semi-final first.”
Bravo was one of the West Indies heroes on his birthday – October 7, 2012 – when they beat Sri Lanka to win the ICC World T20 2012. He was at the non-striker’s end on Friday when Sammy performed his heroics of 34 not out off just 13 balls – including two massive sixes in the final over to win pull off the victory.
“It’s actually achievable because of the experience we have got in the IPL. Sammy’s IPL experience also came into play and he can withstand pressure. We know their bowlers will also be under pressure because one side of the ground is very short and in those kinds of scenarios, we expect the bowler to make mistakes as we had a lot of wickets in hand,” Bravo added.
“Sammy could play his normal game. He is one of the cleanest hitters in the game today. My job at that time was to just run between the wickets and give him as much strike as possible and to just calm him down. All in all, it worked for us.”