West Indies hope to sustain new-ball success
West Indies are banking on their new-ball pair of legspinner Samuel Badree and left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie to put Australia under early pressure in their World T20 game on Friday. In both their matches so far, West Indies have been able to break through early. While they did not have too many to defend against India, they made the most of scoreboard pressure against Bangladesh.
Santokie struck twice off successive deliveries in his second over, by which time Badree had already taken out Tamim Iqbal. Badree and Santokie picked up 7 for 32 between them against Bangladesh, and while acknowledging they had been assisted by the 171 runs the West Indies batsmen had scored, Badree said the duo would continue to look for wickets while bowling to Australia's top order.
"Santokie is known for his wicket-taking ability. That is very, very important in the Powerplay overs," Badree said. "If you can take wickets, you can put pressure on the opposition batsmen. If you don't take wickets, that means that the openers will be there and they will be able to score freely. So it is good bowling with him because he is someone who always gets early wickets with the new ball.
"In this tournament so far I have been getting early wickets as well. We have been working well with that partnership, he from one end, I from the next. As long as we can maintain getting early wickets and restricting the opposition in the first six overs, I think that is exactly what the team needs."
Darren Sammy had talked up Santokie before West Indies' opener against India, saying he had taken plenty of wickets in the Caribbean T20 and would be a player to watch out for as the tournament progressed. Santokie has displayed a deceptive slower ball so far in the tournament, getting it to move appreciably off the pitch at times. He has also been quite accurate, which Badree felt was crucial in the format.
Australia's major challenge, however, will be against spin, which they succumbed to against Pakistan despite Glenn Maxwell's counter-attack, losing five wickets in all to Zulfiqar Babar, Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi. In the 2012 World T20 semi-final, Badree, Narine and Marlon Samuels took five Australian wickets between them in West Indies' huge win. Sammy expected Badree and Narine, the world's top-ranked T20 bowlers, to again pose problems for Australia.
"It will be a good contest. Badree and Narine are one and two in the world in T20 cricket at the moment and Badree has been getting wickets upfront for us in the first six overs," Sammy said. "It is something we are looking he will hopefully continue doing.
"Won't be an easy game. The Australians are a good side. We give them that respect. But at the end of the day, it is another cricket match where it is a contest between bat and ball. The team that handles pressure better and executes properly normally comes out on top. And we are hoping that it will be us tomorrow."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo