West Indies ready for tough Indian challenge: Sammy

Mumbai, March 30 (IANS) West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said on Wednesday that his team is ready to overcome the tough Indian challenge and come out victorious when the two sides clash in the second semi-final of the World Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.

West Indies — who had won the World T20 in 2012 — started the tournament with three successive wins against England, Sri Lanka and South Africa, but suffered a huge blow after losing to minnows Afghanistan in their last group stage match.

But on Thursday, it will be a fresh start for the Sammy-led side in a do-or-die clash.

For India, star batsman Virat Kohli has been in sublime form with consistent scores and match winning knocks. He has scored 184 runs in four matches in the competition.

“There is not taking away from Virat, he is a very good player. We tend to focus on what we could do in our dressing room. Like we have shown throughout the tournament. Once we execute our plans right, we have won the games, when we have not we have lost. This is going to be a hell of a game,” Sammy said at the pre-match press conference here.

“This is going to be 15 West Indian players versus how many billions here in India. Yes it is a challenge and we are ready to face. We all know that Indians are always difficult at home. But main focus in our dressing room is the things what we do best,” he said.

The 32-year-old pointed out that his team was underestimated ahead of the tournament, but thanks to the collective performance of the players, the team has come out with flying colours and are now two steps away from securing their second World T20 crown.

“The issues before the tournament, lack of respect for our T20 team. A lot has been said about this team. That just brought us closer together. As I have said it before, we have a number of guys who are in their thirties. We came into the tournament without playing a T20 in the calendar year. We saw lot was against us. We think it is us against the world. There will not be a bigger day than tomorrow to express that. I don’t think we will have one Indian supporter,” he said.

“I think Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a good captain. If you look at the two sides, the experience the team has playing in T20s for example in Indian Premier League (IPL). We have players playing in all round the world. When you have Chris Gayle in the dressing room, who is I think the best T20 batsman in the world, his record speaks for itself. On the other hand, for India there is Virat Kohli, Dhoni, Suresh Raina and we also have match winners which is a good combination who allows us to win matches,” he added.

The Under-19 West Indies side clinched the 50-over World Cup earlier in the year in February and Sammy hoped that the senior men’s and women’s teams can deliver the same in the ongoing tournament and make the year a memorable year for the West Indies.

“West Indies U-19 team have won the World Cup earlier, now men’s and women’s teams have entered the World T20 semis. It will be great for West Indies if we can win the title and make it three and that will be a great year for West Indies,” Sammy concluded.

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