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

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

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.

Kemar Roach roars after dismissing Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Mirpur, March 4, 2011
Kemar Roach was one of just three bowlers West Indies need to do the job in Dhaka © Getty Images

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."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 16 
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Posted by PATRICK on (March 7, 2011, 12:12 GMT)

@Metman - Your anti-Trini stance is getting boring. I don't expect you to acknowledge the talent of Darren Bravo or Pollard's brilliant 60 vs the Dutch but I do agree that Rampaul should not be in the team. He is not a wicket-taker, Russell shows more promise but depending on the pitch, another spinner to support Benn is the way to go. And Bishoo has to be chosen before Miller. Sammy showed why he has a decent ODI bowling average. His performance was underated compared to Benn and Roach - He took 3 of the 6 top order wickets. Kudos to him.

Posted by Michael on (March 7, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

Well done Roach and Benn !100% bajan again !Well done Sammy !Two trinis gone home,one can't get a play,and the WI firing on all cylinders `.All of Sammy's critics have now crawled into their respective holes,certainly hope they would stay there for the benefit of WI cricket.To Devon Thomas,keep up the brilliant work and silence those Ramdin supporters.They are only waiting for you to slip up to say' I told you so'.Hope Andre Russell and not Rampaul,gets a pick against the Irish,after all ,he already has a century and if I am not mistaken a 5 wicket haul in previous encounters.

Posted by PATRICK on (March 6, 2011, 22:46 GMT)

@ wasteindies. What team have you been watching? or is your memory short-lived under the haze of glory? The fact is we lost to South Africa due to a batting collapse going from 6-209 to 222 all out. If Sammy is an allrounder then yes he does need batting practice and the top order do not. There is no point Gayle scoring 37 when it is the lower order that needs practice. We cannot rely on the top order scoring 300+ runs on their own. Sammy will have to contribute with the bat if we are to beat the top teams.

Posted by Rene on (March 6, 2011, 16:07 GMT)

Sammy Doesnt need batting practice, which team have you been watching PaddyRasta? nevertheless, good victory by the West Indies. I "hope" they can kick off from here. i have seen this too many time to be over optimistic, sorry Windies fanatics.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 6, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

Congtrats WINDIES just keep up the fight as we grow in the WC from strenght to strength. Well done Darren in the way you handle the questions at the press conference, it proves you level at leading and the ability to take on your crictics.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 5, 2011, 14:26 GMT)

THANKS WI for the smiles. You have done what was needed: that is, beat the team that is ranked lower than you @ Ned/land.And took full command against the likes of Bag/desh. The same kind of mindset is needed against Ireland in the next game. Take no one for granted.Take no prisoners.A victory against Ireland would almost guarantee us a spot in the quarter finals barring some major upset.In-fact, if we make it to the quarter finals and Bangladesh doesn't, we can close that gap between 8th and 9th place in the ICC rankings.While this is the WC, there are much more at stake.World ranking, future tours and engagements will be determined by how far we get in this competition.Do us proud WI.Play with the best of your ability and continue to give it your all.Once effort, dedication,determination and consistency are all on display you will reap the rich reward of success.RALLY ROUND THE WEST INDIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Rajesh on (March 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

Bangladesh has become the shame of Asian Cricket. For all the support they are getting from ICC an BCCI, they are going no where. The ODI victory against NZ last year looks like a flash in the pan.The batting was ridiculous to say the least. Feel really sorry for Bangla fans. Do they really think they can qualify for Quarterfinals. It will be a miracle if they do so.

Posted by Cric on (March 5, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

WI you have beaten Bang. You haven't conquered the world.

Posted by Abhimanyu on (March 5, 2011, 4:17 GMT)

Mature statements from Sammy - a level-headed captain.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 5, 2011, 4:11 GMT)

India may be shaking in their boots with matches against Ireland and West Indies coming up, or more likely they couldn't care less with the "real McCoy', the IPL, coming up soon.

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