Windies reign despite World t20 rain
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
The West Indies have tasted mixed fortunes with the rain in the ICC World t20, but have moved into the Super Eights phase of the tournament in Sri Lanka.
Having suffered a 17-run defeat to Australia by the Duckworth-Lewis on Saturday, after heavy rain ended the enthralling encounter in Colombo, the second qualifying spot was up for grabs on Monday.
And Darren Sammy’s side bounced back from their disappointment with another enthusiastic display in Group B, restricting Ireland to 129-6 off 19 overs.
But heavy rain in Premadasa denied the Windies a chance to shine with the bat, after Jamaican duo Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels had powered their way to half-centuries in Saturday’s 191-8 total.
The Windies had looked rusty in the field and with the ball against Australia, who rushed to 100-1 off 9.1 overs before rain halted the contest, but were vastly-improved against the Irish.
Fidel Edwards clean bowled Ireland captain William Porterfield with the first delivery of the day, and the Irish failed to recover from this shock wicket.
The swift off-spin from Gayle resulted in two wickets, and the former skipper entertained the spectators with his new Gangnam-style dance after claiming each victim – his first bowling spell with the Windies this year.
Ravi Rampaul, Sammy and spinner Sunil Narine took a wicket apiece to keep the Windies in control, before the rain set in and ruined the excitement.
Sammy said: “I backed our bowlers to come good and this was a much improved performance from the game against Australia.
“And to have Gayle bowling in international cricket for the first time after a while means we have a lot of bowling options – and I back my bowlers to restrict teams.
“We just have to do well in the Super Eights and face England in the next game. I’m aware of what happened back in last the World Cup in the Caribbean, when England qualified without a win and won the tournament – but we don’t want to underestimate anybody.
“Every team in this tournament has a chance, it’s just who turns up on the day and plays better cricket will obviously win.
“The first goal was to reach the Super Eights, now this is the business end of the tournament and we mean business.”
Jamaican masterblaster Chris Gayle and his compatriot Samuels are the dangermen with the bat, although the Windies have strength in reserve and are brimming with confidence after recently destroying the touring New Zealand outfit.
Samuels explained: “The pitches here are not much different from those in the Caribbean, slow, so you just have to wait on the ball and play it a bit later to drum up the runs.”
The Windies travel to Kandy today (Tuesday), where they are scheduled to play their trio of Super Eights matches at the Pallekele International Stadium.
West Indies Super Eights schedule
September 26: Training
September 27: Match v England
September 28: Training
September 29: Match v Sri Lanka
September 30: Training
October 1: Match v New Zealand