WI hunt T20 double - Confidence is high, says men's skipper Sammy
KOLKATA, India, CMC:
Confident West Indies will rely on their unshakable self-belief and devastating power hitting when they clash with an inform England in today's final of the Twenty20 World Cup in a quest for their second title in five years.
Ranked as outsiders before the start of the tournament, the Darren Sammy-led unit has torn up the form books and silenced critics, topping their group in the preliminaries, with just one defeat, before stunning title favourites India in last Thursday's semi-final, to reach the championship game.
While acknowledging the threat posed by a strong England side, Sammy told reporters there was strong belief in the squad that they could defeat whatever opposition was placed in front of them.
"I feel very excited. We left the Caribbean with one goal on that journey, which was to win the Cup, and both our men's and women's teams have created that opportunity to do that and, as a group, we are really excited," Sammy said.
"The confidence in the group and the belief in the group are really high and really good, and we're looking forward again to playing England. They are a very good side. It's not going to be easy, but it's a step we're willing to take."
West Indies will carry into the final the confidence of having beaten England already in the tournament. In their opening game in Mumbai, the Caribbean side chased down England's 183 to win with 11 balls to spare, with superstar opener Chris Gayle lashing an unbeaten hundred.
Since then, they defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Bangalore, edged South Africa by three wickets in Nagpur before suffering their only defeat days later at the same venue with a shock six-run loss to minnows Afghanistan.
They remarkably chased down 193 to beat the Indians in Mumbai last Thursday, and Sammy said everyone was aware they were on the brink of their ultimate goal.
"We came here after winning [the] tournament in 2012. A hail storm knocked us out in Bangladesh [in 2014]. It's a format we've been consistent in, but nobody gives us a chance," Sammy pointed out.
"We just wanted to take six steps. It's a six-step process to the Cup. We have taken five steps. We took a big one against India. We had a bit of a skid on the way [against Afghanistan], which kind of knocked us off, but we got up. We are left with one more step.
"We have improved, we believe in each other. We enjoy each other's success. Just thinking about lifting that Cup tomorrow, I could almost foresee what's going to happen after. We have a cricket game to play first."
Sammy has been lucky enough to win the toss in every game to date, opting to chase on each occasion. And while they uncharacteristically struggled against the Afghans, they have been dominant in their pursuit of targets, especially packing a battery of big hitters like Gayle, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher and Andre Russell.
He warned that West Indies were not only a chasing team and would bat well regardless of if they were asked to bat first or second.
And with criticism that West Indies' batting was one-dimensional with all power-hitters, Sammy said the side would continue to play to their strengths.
"Whatever we do, we just have to do it well. I've been lucky enough to win all five tosses that I've taken, but in case England win [the toss], we've just got to bat well, bowl well or defend when that time comes. It's a final and whatever each team does, we just have to do it well," he outlined.
Note: The match starts at 8:30 a.m. (Jamaica time) on ESPN.