ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Bangladesh v West Indies, ICC World Cup, Group B, Mirpur
Sammy leads from the front
West Indies shouldn't get carried away after their huge victory over Bangladesh but there were promising signs as they hunt a quarter-final spot
Sidharth Monga in Dhaka
March 4, 2011
They didn't say it before the game, but it hurt West Indies that Bangladesh were ranked higher than them. After the game was over, where the hosts had been humbled for 58, Darren Sammy admitted that the ranking brought out an aggressive edge to their performance.
"We knew we had a point to prove, with Bangladesh ranked higher than us in the rankings," he said. "We were playing them at home, and we came out and gave it everything. It worked. It was a perfect display of how to go out there and bowl on a flat wicket."
It wasn't difficult to beat a team bent on self-combustion, but the way West Indies did it, never letting their foot off the drowning opposition's throat, was impressive. They were not content with taking early wickets and then chasing 200, they wanted to make a bigger statement. They used only three bowlers, all three of whom were in wicket-taking form today, and they gave themselves the best chance of taking wickets by having an adequate number of men in catching positions.
For all the criticism Sammy has come in for in the lead-up to this game, he bowled, and more importantly, led the side perfectly. West Indies have a thin bowling line-up in the absence of Dwayne Bravo, which means they are playing only one genuine wicket-taking seam bowler. Given all that, it is a huge risk to open the bowling with Sulieman Benn, for if he has an off day there is a serious dearth of bowlers who can make the new ball count.
Sammy put his hand up. Not only did he put his hand up, he did so immediately after Benn went for nine in his first over. He realised pretty soon that Bangladesh were trying to expose the weak resources by attacking Benn. And then Sammy produced three wickets. They were not magic deliveries, but they hardly ever are with Sammy. Before the match he said he felt he was one good performance away from coming to form, and it is tough to argue against a sharp catch, three wickets and the man's diving all over the place to stop runs.
Sammy, though, said he knew this was just one good performance, and wouldn't mean much if it is not replicated. "I had belief in myself," he said. "As a leader, you want good performances. I have been practising well, I knew a good performance was just around the corner. Now I need to be consistent. I really needed this performance, the team needed this performance, the people back home in the Caribbean needed that performance."
Another example of how charged up the team was is how Chris Gayle ignored illness and turned up for the game. "It shows how committed he [Gayle] is to the World Cup cause," Sammy said. "To the West Indies cricket. He wasn't feeling too well yesterday and today morning, but he opted to play. Before he went out, he gave us a pep talk, telling us to not underestimate Bangladesh. He is the kind of player the guys respond to. It was very good of him to step up and let the guys know that we have a job to do out there. He has been an inspiration for us, and we went out there every confidently and got the job done."
West Indies can't afford to get carried away, though. They have beaten Netherlands and Bangladesh, teams the West Indies of past would overcome in their sleep. The big games are yet to come. Sammy agrees. "I would not say that," Sammy said when he was asked if they have suddenly become contenders for the title. "We know what we came here to do, we need to focus on each game, and only that game. So we have Ireland next, we are focusing on Ireland. Not the quarter-finals, not India, not England. Just Ireland. We are taking it step by step."
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