On a high after a match-winning knock against India which steered West Indies to World T20 final, star batsman Lendl Simmons on Thursday said that the experience he gained from playing for Mumbai Indians in the IPL helped him play such an innings in such a crucial match.
West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons (R) plays a shot as India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on during the World T20 cricket tournament semi-final match between India and West Indies at The Wankhede Cricket Stadium in Mumbai. Pic/AFP
"I got the news after Afghanistan game. The chairman called and told if I was fit to go and play the match and said yes, I was and to play the match. I was about to get ready on Friday and come to Mumbai for the IPL. I saw an opportunity to get ready for IPL as well. This is my home ground, I read the conditions well and think I read it well. Yes IPL helped me very well," Simmons said at the post-match press conference here.
Simmons was recalled to the side after Andre Fletcher was ruled out of the tournament after hamstring problem against Afghanistan.
On Thursday, West Indies beat India by seven wickets at the Wankhede Stadium here. Batting first, India posted a competitive total of 192/2 in 20 overs, thanks to Virat Kohli's 89. In reply, the Windies chased down the total posting 196/3 in 19.4 overs, thanks to Simmons' 51-ball 83 and Johnson Charles' 36-ball 52.
"When I went out to bat, I had clean in my mind what I had to do, because the game was early and we had a target to chase. So before the game I was a bit nervous. And I was in a bit pressure as I came here for a job. We got to chase the target and it was good," said Simmons.
The 31-year-old said that despite Chris Gayle getting out early for just five runs, the side pulled of a stunning win and that shows the strength of the batting line-up.
"This chase proved that West Indie is not a one man show. Chris did not get off tonight but we still got to win the match. Chasing a big total, despite him getting out early, shows the character in our team. Every member in our tea is match winners and we can back ourselves," he said.
West Indies will now face England, who earlier beat New Zealand in the first semis on Wednesday, in the final at the Eden Gardens on April 3.
About the final, Simmons said: "I think we shouldn't be over confident. On the day which team plays better. We have to go to Kolkata and analyse the situation and game when that comes. The conditions will be different, won't be a batting track like this."