World Cup 2015: West Indies March 18, 2015

'Douglas' WI look to sucker punch 'Tyson' NZ


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'If we up our game by 25%, we can beat NZ' - Sammy

The World Cup is now in the knockout stage and Darren Sammy chose to pull out a boxing analogy as he built up West Indies ahead of their quarter-final against New Zealand, insisting all the pressure was on the home side.

Sammy referenced the historic 1990 boxing bout between James 'Buster' Douglas and Mike Tyson in Tokyo, where Tyson, the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion, had been a clear favourite only for the unfancied Douglas to prevail via a knockout.

"I remember some guy called Douglas beating Mike Tyson and it's a case of that on Saturday," Sammy said. "We always believed from the time the tournament started, the first goal was to reach the quarter-finals. After that you're two games away from a World Cup final. We've won two, it's been a long time, but New Zealand have not won any.

"I just watched the guys warm-up today and it's a different feel. It's the business end. You could win all your games then coming into the knockout there's no guarantee you're going to win. The guys know what's at stake and we're going to do everything in our powers to beat Mike Tyson."

Expectations were low for West Indies after they suffered an opening-game defeat to Ireland in Nelson before back-to-back wins against Pakistan and Zimbabwe lifted them up the group table. That was followed by resounding defeats against South Africa and India, meaning they had to beat UAE while also improving their net run-rate.

"As you guys put it, we were not supposed to be here," Sammy said. "Here we are, a knockout game, so the pressure is on the home team. They are the favourites to win, so the question is, what are they going to do when they play West Indies in a knockout. We're not too bad in knockout games. We're just going to enjoy it. The pressure is not on us."

The last time the two sides met in a one-day series it ended 2-2 during the 2013-14 season, but Sammy was keen to recall the previous meeting when tournament progression was on the line at the World T20 in 2012. The teams were tied after 20 overs in the Super Eight clash in Pallekele before West Indies prevailed in the Super Over when Tim Southee could not defend 16.

Darren Sammy referenced the 2012 World T20 clash between the two teams as a measure of West Indies' bottle in knockouts: "When it came down to crunch time, we won" © Getty Images

"When it came down to crunch time, we won. Same set of players," Sammy said, invoking a little artistic license as only six West Indian players and four New Zealanders from that match are likely to appear in Wellington.

"This time around it won't be any different. A full house will be rooting for New Zealand but we know within our group once we do the basics, the things we know we can do well, we are unstoppable. We've been very inconsistent but it's a knockout game and if we put together all the good things we know we can do right then no team can beat us. I know the other teams know that as well."

Sammy acknowledged how well Southee and Trent Boult have been performing at the World Cup and picked out the first 10 overs of West Indies' batting innings as a pivotal period of the match. And, with a powerful jab to the solar plexus, he went as far as to say that New Zealand "didn't have an answer" in the death overs against Bangladesh.

It was the first time they had been severely tested late in an innings in their six group matches and the final 10 overs cost 104 with Brendon McCullum using up his frontline resources in the search for wickets, which meant Grant Elliott bowled two of the final three overs.

"When we bat Boult and Southee have been bowling very well with the new ball. Once we don't let them get wickets up front, as you watched in the game against Bangladesh coming down to the end they didn't have an answer. You saw Grant Elliott bowling in the last four overs. That's something where they have not been put under and they didn't respond well against Bangladesh."

New Zealand's players have said very little in the build-up, but for all Sammy's chest-thumping words it was all shadow-boxing. The telling blows come later. That 1990 win for Douglas was also his last hurrah. It remains to seen how many punches West Indies have left to throw.

Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2015, 1:55 GMT

    will some one explain why miller is not playing?he is a better bowler than benn,the guy have the best figures in 50 overs game in d caribbean first class,he was chosen to replace narine which whom if was they would be automatic slection,hmm oh ok

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2015, 11:43 GMT

    Sure the Windies could really test NZ if 'Gayle fires' but what happens to the poor hapless Windies if Bmac faces 60 or 70 balls..... Anything can happen on the day and I have nothing against the Windies as a team but they don't deserve to be anywhere near the semi finals in this cup. They have been truly awful for a while now, doesn't one of the Windies openers average less than 20 and didn't AB smash 2 rapid fire and hugh tons against them? The many great Windies legends of old must be so disheartened by this current crop.

  • Misbah on March 19, 2015, 7:55 GMT

    South Africa have twice scored 400 against Windies THIS YEAR. The captain went for 50 in his last two overs in WC. Some attack. poor brendon must be quaking in his boots.

  • cricfan722 on March 19, 2015, 4:48 GMT

    @WI_KDOCT IF Starc had another 50 runs he would have single handedly cleaned up NZ. Simple fact is 'He didn't', cricket doesnt work on if's! Respect where its due NZ bowled extremely well in that match. WI has more firepower? If it was a the WI of the 70's, 80's and eatly 90's I would agree but we all know it's not. Good luck to both teams and if Gayle in particular has a blinder will be a great match.

  • carl on March 19, 2015, 3:37 GMT

    Sammy got the date wrong by 2 years. NZ are Mike Tyson alright but the Windies are Leon Spinks. Kissing the canvas after 91 seconds. Like they did against Ireland... I'm 'ma let ya finish Darren, but "Iron Mike" is the greatest heavy weight of ALL TIME...ALL TIME.

  • Pratik on March 19, 2015, 1:12 GMT

    @Howard Benjamin : West Indies bowling is more superior. Excuse me what???? You must be pretty insane to say that when WI is facing NZ.And what is that about your if's?If half of their batsment perform well with double digit contributions from the rest I have no doubt that Westindies will beat NZ. What is that suppose to mean. I have no doubt about NZ's win. WI will be very lucky if they manage to win. They have been miserable and lucky to advance. remember they advanced on NRR. If Mccullum keeps cool head and stays on crease for 15 overs, then I have no doubt NZ will thrash Windies.

  • Nick on March 19, 2015, 1:08 GMT

    Howard Benjamin seems as confident as Sammy. The Windies bowlers are even weaker than their batting lineup. Conceding huge scores in the pool games. Southee vs Taylor, Boult vs Holder, Vettori vs Benn, Milne vs Russell. No point even comparing. Like South Africa, Windies shouldn't even be in the knockouts having lost two matches. Time to go home Sammy. Bye bye.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2015, 0:54 GMT

    WI should play both Gayle and Samuels after the first 15 overs. Southee ad Boult might be kept back for Gayle and Samuels in particular. And if they don't then these batsmen will make merry against the rest of bowlers. They should have changed the batting order all tournament long ... If WI are 50 for 1 after 15 overs, the could still make 350!

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 22:26 GMT

    Sorry NZ, you looked real good in the preliminary matches, but here is where we separate the men from the boys. WI will win this one.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 22:08 GMT

    What a delirious bunch of fans you WI fans are! You can bring all the talk, all the swagger, all the smack you want. At the end of the day, you are playing in our back yard, facing our swing bowlers and our crowd! NZ are riding a huge wave of confidence and won't be derailed by your over hypted talk. The Windies know they are up against it, so only resort is to pull out the low blows. I can't wait to see your bowlers get an attack of the Macca! Let's see you all talk smack come the 22nd of March.

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