BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies B’ coach, Roddy Estwick, believes his side’s “fearless mindset” has been crucial to their success in the inaugural Global T20 Canada.
The Caribbean side, comprising young development players, were the least fancied when they entered the tournament two weeks ago, but have since emerged as favourites for tomorrow’s final after pulling off a number of surprises to reach the championship match.
Up against several far more experienced players, Windies B have played an attractive brand of attacking and entertaining cricket, with several outstanding performances and superb collective displays.
“They have been fearless. They have been street-wise and clever,” Estwick told CMC Sports from the team hotel in Toronto.
“They have performed like they belong – they have demonstrated to the cricket world that they have immense talent, but also importantly, they also have the desire to win and they know how to win.”
He added: “We came here with nothing to lose and everything to gain. I urged them to go out and enjoy the tournament and make the most of this golden opportunity. We agreed ‘let’s make the impossible possible’. They have been brilliant in every match.”
The highlight of the tournament so far was a breathtaking century from teenager Sherfane Rutherford in the opening play-off against Chris Gayle’s Vancouver Knights on Thursday at the Maple Leaf North-West Ground.
The 19-year-old Guyanese scorched 134 not out off 66 balls with 11 fours and 10 sixes as the Windies chased down 216 for victory, to win by six wickets off the last ball.
Rutherford added 130 for the third wicket with fellow left-hander Nicholas Pooran, who made 44 off 28 balls. Earlier in the match, Rutherford took two wickets with his right-arm medium pace, an all-round performance which guaranteed him the Man-of-the-Match award.
“He’s a brave young man. He has a big heart and he is very determined,” Estwick pointed out.
“When the tournament started we were looking for openers and we identified Rutherford as one of the best options at the top of the order. He opened in the first five matches and did well.
“On Thursday, we made a tactical adjustment to combat their leg-spinners. We felt that if we had two left-handers at numbers four and five, we could handle the spin.
Estwick added: “…so we moved Rutherford to four and Pooran to five and that worked wonders. He (Rutherford) played a wonderful innings and Pooran showed the value of his experience for know-how.
“For such a young man to play so freely from a score of 17 for three, chasing over 200 at a rate of more than 10 runs per over and win the game, was world-class.
“This tournament has been a great showcase for talent in the West Indies and it shows we have what it takes to compete with the best in the world.”