Step up or face early exit - Sammy
New Zealand (CMC):
Former one-day captain, Darren Sammy, has warned his teammates that their campaign in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup will be short-lived unless they begin to execute properly in all three aspects of the game.
West Indies crashed to an embarrassing four-wicket loss to Ireland in their World Cup opener at Saxton Oval yesterday, despite piling up 304 for seven.
"If we continue to play like that, we won't be here for long, for sure," Sammy tersely told reporters following the game.
West Indies recovered from 87 for five in the 24th over to top 300, thanks to Lendl Simmons, who stroked 102; and Sammy, who slammed an exhilarating 89. They put on 154 for the sixth wicket.
However, the Windies seam-based attack then bowled poorly and Ireland got stuck in, with opener Paul Stirling (92), Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O'Brien (79 not out), all striking high-class half-centuries to see their side home with 25 balls remaining.
"I always believe cricket is played on the day. Like we saw today, 300 was not enough against Ireland. We have to put all three disciplines of the game together on the cricket pitch in order to win matches," Sammy warned.
"So when we bat well, we've got to bowl well and field well, and right now, we're only doing one of those three disciplines, and if we don't correct that ASAP, we will be on a flight back to the Caribbean and won't be in the quarter-finals."
The defeat extended the Windies' recent run of poor form. They were hammered 4-1 in the five-match ODI series in South Africa last month and then crashed to a nine-wicket defeat to England last week in their first official warm-up match.
They piled up 313 against Scotland a few days later in their second warm-up, but narrowly escaped with a three-run victory. Sammy conceded that yet again, yesterday, the bowlers had struggled to get it together.
"We didn't bowl well at all. I think halfway through, we went into the dressing room with the momentum in our favour and we just needed to pick up wickets with the new ball, and that is something that has been plaguing us for the last few series," he pointed out.
"Credit must go to the Irish, the way they came out and they were positive. They had a game plan and they stuck to it. It still shows we can learn from our opposition. We didn't put enough balls together to create pressure, and we ended up on the losing side."
He continued: "It's tough. We have not been playing the brand of cricket that allows us to win matches. To recover from (87 for five) to score 300, we really thought we were in with a chance.
'didn't start well'
"But we didn't start well, our bowlers have been going for some stick over the last few games, and today was no different against an experienced Irish team."
Sammy, however, praised the Windies fightback and underscored the role of the big-hitting lower order.
"We batted really well and it was good to see at least one of us carrying on to get 100," he pointed out.
"The number six, seven and eight in this team, we call ourselves the engine room, and even though the top four don't fire, we believe that the engine room in myself, Simmons and (AndrÈ) Russell, once we play our role we will get big scores, and today was a perfect example of the way the engine room fired.
"Hopefully, we can continue with that in the tournament, and hopefully first, second and third gear can kick off for us.
"It is very disappointing to lose our first game, and we need to dust ourselves off very quickly and play well in all three disciplines against Pakistan."
West Indies square off against Pakistan in Christchurch on Saturday.