Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Pumped up WI target upset in World T20 semis against India

Published:Thursday | March 31, 2016 | 3:00 AM
West Indies’ cricketers Chris Gayle (left) and Andre Russell warm up during a practice session ahead of their ICC Twenty20 2016 Cricket World Cup semi-final match against India, in Mumbai, India, today.

MUMBAI, India (CMC):

West Indies go toe to toe with hosts and title favourites India in the second semi-final of the Twenty20 World Cup today in a game captain Darren Sammy has labelled a 'David and Goliath' battle.

India, with the advantage of familiar conditions, the partisan home crowd and a convincing win over the Windies in the official pre-tournament warm-ups, enter the 7 p.m. (9:30 a.m. Eastern Caribbean time) contest at the Wankhede Stadium as heavy favourites.

But West Indies, the 2012 champions, remain a huge threat, and Sammy said they were backing themselves to upset India.

"The guys who predict the results say (the chances of winning) are 80-20 (in India's favour), so it feels like a David and Goliath (battle), but people tend to forget David won the fight," Sammy told reporters here yesterday.

INDIAN LOVE

"It's something similar to that. We enjoy playing against India. A number of our players play here and we have a lot of respect for them. The camaraderie in the group in both teams is really good, so we're looking forward to that, and what better place to play than here in Mumbai - one of the best wickets in India."

He added: "Once we believe among ourselves, it doesn't matter what other people think. As a group, we believe in each other's ability. We believe in the talent, and at the end of the day, cricket is played on the pitch.

"You could talk all you want. I could talk a good game, but it's the action on the pitch that really matters."

West Indies opened their Group One campaign with a convincing six-wicket victory over England before following up with positive results over Sri Lanka by seven wickets and South Africa by three wickets.

Their only blemish came in the final game last Sunday against minnows Afghanistan, when they were stunned by six runs in Nagpur.

West Indies lifted the T20 World Cup for the first time four years ago when they beat Sri Lanka in a thrilling final in Colombo. Two years later in Bangladesh, they went out in the semi-finals as Sri Lanka rebounded to win the title.

HOPES FOR CLEAN SWEEP

Earlier this year, West Indies Under-19s also won the ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh, and with West Indies Women also contesting their T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand Women today, Sammy said he was hoping for a clean sweep of titles for the Caribbean.

"The Under-19 team started it in Bangladesh and both the men and the women's teams took that as inspiration. Come tomorrow, we have two West Indian teams vying for a spot in the final," he noted.

"I really wish both the teams could go to the finals and win it, so 2016 could be the year where West Indies take home everything.

"The guys in the dressing room are aware what is at stake. We came into the tournament and nobody gave us a chance. I said six steps to the World Cup. We have taken four ... we have two more steps and tomorrow's (today) step is against India. We are looking forward to it."