MIRPUR, Bangladesh, (Reuters) – Cricket’s 20-over format is tailor-made for the powerful West Indians and there is no reason why they cannot become the first team to defend the World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh, skipper Darren Sammy said today.
Currently ranked eighth both in test and one-day internationals, West Indies have emerged as a stronger force in cricket’s latest and shortest format, winning the World Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka two years ago.
“We’ve a lot of experience,” Sammy told reporters ahead of tomorrow’s semi-final against Sri Lanka, an opponent they beat in the 2012 final.
“Eight of our players play in the Twenty20 leagues around the world. I guess we love that format and the type of players we have in the dressing room are probably suited for that format.”
Teeming with power-hitters such as Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, West Indies also have two excellent slow bowlers in Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, who have troubled opposition in Mirpur’s spin-friendly track.
Group match victories against Bangladesh, Australia and Pakistan have convinced Sammy he has got the team that can lift the title on Sunday.
“We left the Caribbean with that as the motivating factor for us,” the affable all-rounder said.
“(In the) last World Cup, the mission was to win the World Cup. This year it’s to retain or defend the title. It’s something no team has done before. We are very confident we can do it.”
India won the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007, followed by Pakistan (2009) and England (2010).
“Once we play the brand of cricket we played in the last three games, there is every possibility we can,” Sammy added.
“Twenty20 is all about momentum and seizing the right opportunity. So far we’ve been able to do that and hopefully we can do that again Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka will also have the additional task of adapting quickly to the conditions in Mirpur, having played their group matches in Chittagong where heavy dew made life difficult for the bowlers, especially the spinners.
Sammy was happy with his team’s commitment.
“Guys wanted a day off after playing but we’re here practising (after Tuesday’s win against Pakistan),” Sammy said.
“(It) shows our focus, we are committed to the goal we left the Caribbean with, which is to defend the title. We broke it down in phases.
“We only have two more steps to take. We’ll focus on the semi-finals and once we’re in the final, anything is possible.”