West Indies skipper Darren Sammy wants to prove detractors wrong, after being rated underdogs in the build-up to the tournament, by winning the WT20 title clash against England at Eden Gardens in Kolkata
Kolkata: If you wondered how, then Darren Sammy will tell you all about the power of pricked pride. As the West Indies braced themselves for "the final step", the skipper revealed that they were feeding off all that has been written — and not written — about them in the lead-up to the World T20.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy (right) and Dwayne Bravo warm up during a practice session at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Coach Phil Simmons' tweet soon after they had got past India revealed that Mark Nicholas' "short of brains" comment in a pre-tournament write-up hadn't gone down well in the Caribbean camp. At the Eden Gardens on Saturday, Sammy confirmed that those writing them off had actually written their latest script.
"A lot happened before the tournament, and I believe everything happens for a reason. I think the pre-tournament shenanigans brought us closer as a team. It feels like it's us against everybody else," Sammy explained when asked about the resurgence that now pits them against England in today's summit showdown.
'Consistent in T20s'
"We won the tournament in 2012, a hailstorm knocked us out in Bangladesh (in 2014), the year before we were in the semi-finals and I think in 2009... it's a format we've been consistent in but every year nobody gives us a chance. That it could be the last (World T20) for a few key players (also) brought us closer. We formed our own little circle," said the 32-year-old all-rounder. "We believe in each other, enjoy each other's success and we think about us lifting up that cup tomorrow (Sunday)."
England players indulge in a game of football on the eve of their World T20 final against West Indies in Kolkata on Saturday. PIC/PTI
England skipper Eoin Morgan points to the "stark difference" from their disappointing campaign in the 50-over World Cup last year. "I would have never imagined the turnaround having such an immediate impact," he gushed.
"The strides we have made in the last 12 months in white ball cricket... and this is great reward for the mindset and the great work we have put in."
He brushed aside suggestions that the loss to the West Indies at the Super 10 stage will have an impact in today's final. "It's two completely different teams. We have grown as a side with every game," he pointed out, and is happy with his team's bowling at the 'death'.
"It gives us confidence. The last game we only went for 20 runs in two from (Ben) Strokes and two from (Chris) Jordan. They were clear in thoughts and executed exceptionally well. Not lot of sides come through having good death bowlers," he said.
They will, of course, have to contend with 'David'.
"I think people still don't give us a chance," Sammy said. "We always see ourselves as David, and we will play like David, be smart about it. David is a winner."
Alex Hales is the only England batsman to score a ton in T20I. He scored an unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka at Chittagong during the World T20 in 2014.
Number of sixes hit by West Indian big-hitter Chris Gayle in Twenty20 internationals — the most by any batsman.
Darren Sammy's T20 international strike-rate is higher than any English player (minimum 20 innings). Kevin Pietersen's 141.51 is the English record, with Jos Buttler's 139.4 the highest among the current squad.
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