Simmons praises Windies tenacity despite defeat

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Head coach Phil Simmons says the manner of West Indies’ batting recovery against Australia was a major positive coming out of their defeat in the eighth game of the Tri-Nations Series here Tuesday night.

West Indies were slumping at 31 for three in the ninth over before recovering to reach 282 for eight off their 50 overs at Kensington Oval, with Marlon Samuels stroking 125 and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin getting 91.

However, Australia chased down their target to win in the penultimate over, Mitchell Marsh (79 not out) and captain Steve Smith (78) gathering half-centuries.

“There are a lot of things we can take from it. I think when you’re up against Australia and you’re 30 for three and to come back and make 280, you have to take that,” Simmons told a media conference here.

Marlon Samuels hits straight during his superb 125 against Australia on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)
Marlon Samuels hits straight during his superb 125 against Australia on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)

“Taking them to the second to last over – you have to take that – especially with our main bowler and captain (Jason Holder) missing so there are a lot of things you can take from [the game].”

Samuels was the stand-out in the Windies revival, stroking 14 fours and two sixes to complete his 10th One-Day International hundred and pass 5 000 runs.

He put on 192 for the fourth wicket with Ramdin, whose innings came from 92 balls and included six fours and three sixes.

Simmons said Samuels had achieved one of the team goals set since the start of the series.

“He should have gotten one (century) in St Kitts [but] unfortunately [he was] run out there … and today he just carried on. That’s what we’ve been asking for – somebody to get a hundred in the top four and today was his day,” Simmons noted.

“He and Denesh Ramdin got together at 30 for three and had to consolidate and they had to bat properly for a little while – getting the singles, leaving alone – and they did all that was necessary at that point and that’s why they came out on top and started to carry the score on.

“For him (Ramdin) to get 90 – he deserved a hundred – he batted just as good as well as Marlon and deserved a hundred. The way the two of them played especially (Mitchell) Starc there in the beginning [was great].

“He (Starc) usually only bowls three overs and comes off but … he went for the jugular and they batted really well against him.”

With the victory, Australia powered into Sunday’s final, leaving West Indies and South Africa to battle for the other spot in their clash on Friday.

And despite his side’s patchy form throughout the tournament, Simmons said he was pleased with their attitude throughout.

“The work that the guys have put in over the last five or six weeks has been excellent,” the former Test all-rounder said.

“And for us to be in a competition with number one (Australia) and number three (South Africa) in the world and still be in the competition looking to be in the final … it’s what we would have spoken about at the start of the tournament that we have to make sure we’re winning games against these top teams in order to be moving up the table.”

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