MUMBAI: West Indies captain Darren Sammy has no qualms in conceding that India would be odds-on favourites in Thursday’s World Twenty20 semifinal clash but insists that his side would be no pushover in what seems like a “David vs Goliath contest”.
“I think it is 80-20 to India, so it feels like David vs Goliath contest but people tend to forget David won the fight, so it’s something similar to that,” said Sammy on the eve of the clash here.
“We haven’t played the perfect game yet. We are stressing on rotation of strike. It is clear that we are a big boundary -hitting team. We look at the dot-ball percentage, probably it is 40-50 per cent for us, and we could improve on that. So far, we have bowled really well in the tournament and on a few occasions, one batsman has taken responsibility,” he said.
Although Sammy admitted that star India batsman Virat Kohli would be a big factor in tomorrow’s game, but having the world’s “best T20 cricketer” in Chris Gayle does even out the scales to an extent.
“…have you ever heard of Chris Gayle?” he asked, adding “There’s no taking away from Virat, he’s a very good player, but like I’ve said in my press conferences, we tend to focus on what we could do in our dressing room.
“Like we’ve shown throughout the tournament once we execute our plans right we’ve won the games. When we’ve not, we’ve lost. So it’s going to be a hell of a game, it’s going to be 15 West Indies players versus 78,000, plus billions of Indians.
“Yes, it’s a challenge we’re ready to face, We all know that India is always difficult at home, but main focus in our dressing room is doing what we do best,” he said.
In the run-up to the World T20, the West Indies players had a pay dispute with their cricket board, which was resolved just in time, but Sammy said there was a total lack of support for his team from the region’s cricket authorities.
“The lack of respect for our T20 team. A lot has been said about this team and we as a group. But it just brought us closer together,” said the 34-year-old.
“I said it before, we have number of guys in 30s and we came here in this tournament not playing a T20 in the calendar year, where we saw lot of (things) against us. That really brought the team closer together.
“You’ve to see the way we’ve played. We think it’s us against the world. That 15 players and the support staff, it’s just us, our own new circle against the world and that’s how we’ve gone out and played.
KOHLI’S INDIA VS GAYE’S WEST INDIES
Virat Kohli’s sublime form will be up against the brute force of Chris Gayle when title contenders India clash against a flamboyant West Indies in what promises to be a battle of nerves in the second semifinal match of the World Twenty20.
The no-holds barred battle between the 2007 champions India and the 2012 title-winners West Indies is expected to ultimately be decided by the ability of the players to handle the pressure in front of a full house at a venue where the hosts captured their second ODI World Cup crown almost five years ago.
Both teams go into the clash after getting beaten once each in the Super 10 stage and as such the team that grabs its chances is expected to come out triumphant.
The head-to-head record between the two rivals in past World Twenty20s is 2-1 in favour of the West Indies.
However, India, with a strong team on paper, seem to have the edge although quite a few players have not lived up to the expectations.
But the crowd favourites would be wary of being upstaged by the Caribbeans, who have quite a few match-winners of their own.
Kohli has been the biggest galvanising factor in India’s progress this far. With his consistently excellent display in an otherwise misfiring top-order, he is the batsman that Windies will be wary of the most, apart from ever-reliable skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India suffered a shock opening game defeat at Nagpur against New Zealand but then picked up pace to get the better of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia to be one victory away from entering their third summit clash in six editions.
Windies, powered by Gayle force, ensured their entry into the last four with creditable victories over England, South Africa and Sri Lanka before coming a cropper against minnows Afghanistan in their previous game.
The Caribbean charmers would be hoping to put the shock loss against Afghanistan behind them.
The home team, on the other hand, will be hoping that Kohli’s brilliant run, which included a master-class of 82 not out against Australia in the do-or-die game, continues unabated.