Pakistan v West Indies, April 1, 2014

West Indies bring back their fear factor

The ultimate entertainers, West Indies now have the batting power to match the threat their fast bowlers brought in the 1980s
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It's important to give Bangladeshi crowds their money's worth - Bravo

West Indies may have a formula for T20, or they may just let it flow through them. Modern players often talk about going out on the field and expressing themselves but it appears to be only the West Indies team that truly do so, at least in this format of the game.

Whether dancing to calypso, Korean pop or some local folk number, West Indies' style has proved just as catchy as it was two years ago. The energy levels as they celebrated a sensational torpedoing of Pakistan were a little down on the party-hard reaction to beating Australia a few days ago, with just a few perfunctory giddy-ups for the cameras, but West Indies emanate conviction that their method is as sound as their arms are strong. With or without all the carry on, they are the World T20 entertainers.

Darren Sammy has become as powerful a symbol of this as Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, stars of their triumphant 2012 World T20. Tony Cozier has written about his resurgence in the finisher's role - innings in Auckland and Antigua, Barbados and Mirpur over the last few months underscore the point with all the emphasis of one of Sammy's flat sixes - and here the captain gave another tingling display of his dead-eye death batting.

As Saeed Ajmal, the premier spinner in this format, was crunched back down the ground in the 19th over, Sammy celebrated banishing the ball from his presence by pumping his fist back and forth, as if ramming home the metaphorical advantage. Ajmal had already gone the distance twice before, at the hands of Dwayne Bravo, who also belaboured Umar Gul - the second-most successful T20 bowler around - for consecutive sixes. Bravo was run out at the start of the final over but Sammy drove remorselessly on, thumping and jiving.

Asked previously about West Indies preference for dots over dash, sixes over singles, Sammy said it was just a natural inclination as to how to play the game. Suresh Raina belittled the approach, to which Sammy responded: "If he thinks we are only six-hitters, then stop us from hitting sixes." India managed it, convincingly; Pakistan did not. Of West Indies' 166 for 6, 51 came in singles, twos and a three; 106 flowed in boundaries.

"In those situations, the best of them all go for runs," Bravo said of the disdain with which Ajmal and Gul were treated. "We had nothing to lose, we were under pressure. So I said to Sammy, as long as we stay still, don't worry about picking Ajmal or trying to rotate, just stay still, keep our eyes on the ball, we're powerful enough if we get close to the ball to hit it over the ropes. Our aim was to get at least 135 to 140 with the start we got but the self-belief we have, the form and the power we have, the momentum went with us, we finished positive and got to 160."

The power of West Indies' T20 batting - missing Kieron Pollard, too - has replaced the fear factor of their fast bowling in Tests 30 years ago. They use it to bludgeon opponents, intimidate them, shrugging off the chance to run ones and twos in favour of full-frontal assault. As with Samuels' tinderbox innings in the final of the last World T20, this match reinforced the sense that they are rarely ever out of a game.

From 84 for 5 at the end of the 15th over, Bravo and Sammy ran amok for another 82 runs from 30 balls. Perhaps the only way they could get better (other than jogging just a couple more singles) would be to implement a pre-War Test trick and reverse the batting order, somehow convincing Sammy to play each five-over block as if it were the last five overs - with the fall back of Gayle, Samuels and the rest to come in if he failed. Bradman would surely approve.

"This is the first game that we lost wickets in the first six overs, so we were trying to consolidate but at the same time whenever we got a boundary we keep losing a wicket again," Bravo said. "So in the middle overs, it calmed down. We've proved ourselves, in Twenty20 cricket we know how the game plays, if you take the game right down to the end anything is possible, as long as we don't give up and keep faith and have that self-belief that if we bat 20 overs we're going to get a decent total.

"But we have to bat 20 overs, so at no point can we let what happens in the middle overs get the better of us, that comes with experience and self-belief. We still had Andre Russell and Sunil Narine to bat. It's good we did not panic at 84 for 5 and take the game all the way down to the end. We showed in the Australia game what the difference can make as long as we have clean hitters at the wicket, so that's our aim, that's our strong point and we use it to the best of our ability."

Bravo, who is enjoying a purple patch in West Indies maroon, spoke of the team's passion and enjoyment for the game, something else that Twenty20 has helped to resurrect in the Caribbean. "All West Indians are like that, we just want to entertain our fans, most of all the people of Bangladesh come out every game and support the tournament so it's important that we give them their money's worth," he said. If West Indies' manage to carry off the title again, it will be in the manner of all great entertainers: leaving us wanting more.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • spinkingKK on April 1, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    Excellent performance by the West Indies. I am very happy to see my favorite team through to the semis. I get the feeling there is no stopping for the West Indies. I have always maintained that Dwyne Bravo is an outstanding player and athlete in the West Indies team. The guy can play all formats very well. In T20's he looked like an ideal player to have in any team - Bowl economical, bat explosively and field like his body is made up off rubber. I hope they play Mendis with caution in the semis. If SriLanka decides to drop him, that will work in the West Indies's favor.

  • rafilafir on April 2, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    As a Lankan, I am glad that our team has once more proved their worth be amongst the top four to reach the final showdown. T20 format is certainly different to other formats. Looking at the wt20 series the sadder part of games witnessed thus far are that most have been clearly one sided given the nature of the game or weather conditions, where most teams were not being able to read and adapt to the conditions. Pakistan was no exception, but apart from Shahzard who got a peach of a delivery the rest had no intent playing into the hands of WI in haste. The Windies are loaded with ammunition to fire again, but the Lankan artillery too can counter fire while Malinga magic does work on his day. Cant wait to watch the Windies again for they are great entertainers. With WI having five smashers SL must contain, if not remove them early. Looking forward to the game, whilst hoping yesterday was Gayle's last gangam dance for the season. If he does, let him keep dancing even after the final.

  • CurrentPresident on April 2, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    These are the new West Indian 'quicks'. They scare opponents not with their bounce but with their pulls, not with their pace, but with the swing of their bat.

  • Twinkie on April 2, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    Darren Sammy only responds to disparaging remarks from other teams. Why are some people so deaf and blind to the faults of their own players? Teams need to be careful of what they say because we have the right to respond in like manner. Windies players play cricket with bat and ball on the field. That is our way. It has always been our way with very few exceptions. Now come on! Just play ball and may the best team win!

  • hurting_westindian on April 2, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I think it's all getting to their heads now and this will again lead to their downfall. WI batting is still a problem. You can never tell which team will show up on any given day. Only one batsman can say that he is in form and that's Sammy. Bravo has played 2 good innings and Simmons has made small contributions. But the rest even Gayle has been no where close to their best. I'm glad that Bravo finally realized that key to hitting boundaries under pressure was keeping still and eyes on the ball rather than just swing wildly but I doubt the rest has learnt that. After watching WI cricket for over 2 decades now and seeing the depths they have sunk I might have become a little jaded but I'm still realistic about WI cricket.

  • on April 2, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    All that hype will come to an end tomorrow when the ruthless Lankans take on WI. We will then clinch the trophy which we missed grabbing twice by beating the South-Africans on Sunday. Btw, I have a Crystal-Ball.

  • on April 2, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    Brilliant performance WI,thought the pakistanis had you'll stiifled but you'll broke free-but watch out for the Lankan Lions we will come hard at you!

  • iamgroot on April 2, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    You can talk all you want.. but at the end of the day .. what happens on cricket field is what matters.. Raina clearly pointed out.. WI batsmen are six hitters and they hardly take singles and in the match between India Vs West indies RAINA was absolutely right.. WI team need to rotate strike and keep the scoreboard moving. Yes windies India will continue to stop you from hitting sixes. Your harsh talk might work with other teams but with Indian team its different. And Sammy after preaching Australia is doing the same mistake by talking rubbish.. While I am big fan of WI team especially Gayle.. Dwayne Bravo , Narine , Badree are all talented cricketers.. Sammy on the other hand is very arrogant... he needs to learn lot of humility from others.. Sammy is the only negative point in WI team ..otherwise WI team is fantastic.. IT is because of Gayle that WI team glows .. It is Gayle who brought that charisma to this WI team... Gayle is the driving force.. WI vs Sri lanka..will be interestin

  • krishna_cricketfan on April 2, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    It is happy to note the exuberance of the WI team. In fielding also, they did not give anything away easily. Watching Gayle diving left and right is something great. Resurgence of WI is needed for cricket. I would love to see that big bat swing, electric fielding and that fast bowling in test matches. Hope they come up in test cricket as well.

  • on April 2, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    For an England supporter, it's great to watch West Indies play cricket, with a free spirit and a smile on the face. Entertainment guaranteed, and barely a whiff of a master plan that gets you nowhere. Darren Sammy has been a revelation in this tournament. And let's remember they are doing this without two key players: Roach and Pollard. Good luck with the rest of the tournament, guys. Only one thing missing so far: would love to see Sammy and Pollard take on Steyn in the death overs!

  • spinkingKK on April 1, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    Excellent performance by the West Indies. I am very happy to see my favorite team through to the semis. I get the feeling there is no stopping for the West Indies. I have always maintained that Dwyne Bravo is an outstanding player and athlete in the West Indies team. The guy can play all formats very well. In T20's he looked like an ideal player to have in any team - Bowl economical, bat explosively and field like his body is made up off rubber. I hope they play Mendis with caution in the semis. If SriLanka decides to drop him, that will work in the West Indies's favor.

  • rafilafir on April 2, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    As a Lankan, I am glad that our team has once more proved their worth be amongst the top four to reach the final showdown. T20 format is certainly different to other formats. Looking at the wt20 series the sadder part of games witnessed thus far are that most have been clearly one sided given the nature of the game or weather conditions, where most teams were not being able to read and adapt to the conditions. Pakistan was no exception, but apart from Shahzard who got a peach of a delivery the rest had no intent playing into the hands of WI in haste. The Windies are loaded with ammunition to fire again, but the Lankan artillery too can counter fire while Malinga magic does work on his day. Cant wait to watch the Windies again for they are great entertainers. With WI having five smashers SL must contain, if not remove them early. Looking forward to the game, whilst hoping yesterday was Gayle's last gangam dance for the season. If he does, let him keep dancing even after the final.

  • CurrentPresident on April 2, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    These are the new West Indian 'quicks'. They scare opponents not with their bounce but with their pulls, not with their pace, but with the swing of their bat.

  • Twinkie on April 2, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    Darren Sammy only responds to disparaging remarks from other teams. Why are some people so deaf and blind to the faults of their own players? Teams need to be careful of what they say because we have the right to respond in like manner. Windies players play cricket with bat and ball on the field. That is our way. It has always been our way with very few exceptions. Now come on! Just play ball and may the best team win!

  • hurting_westindian on April 2, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I think it's all getting to their heads now and this will again lead to their downfall. WI batting is still a problem. You can never tell which team will show up on any given day. Only one batsman can say that he is in form and that's Sammy. Bravo has played 2 good innings and Simmons has made small contributions. But the rest even Gayle has been no where close to their best. I'm glad that Bravo finally realized that key to hitting boundaries under pressure was keeping still and eyes on the ball rather than just swing wildly but I doubt the rest has learnt that. After watching WI cricket for over 2 decades now and seeing the depths they have sunk I might have become a little jaded but I'm still realistic about WI cricket.

  • on April 2, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    All that hype will come to an end tomorrow when the ruthless Lankans take on WI. We will then clinch the trophy which we missed grabbing twice by beating the South-Africans on Sunday. Btw, I have a Crystal-Ball.

  • on April 2, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    Brilliant performance WI,thought the pakistanis had you'll stiifled but you'll broke free-but watch out for the Lankan Lions we will come hard at you!

  • iamgroot on April 2, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    You can talk all you want.. but at the end of the day .. what happens on cricket field is what matters.. Raina clearly pointed out.. WI batsmen are six hitters and they hardly take singles and in the match between India Vs West indies RAINA was absolutely right.. WI team need to rotate strike and keep the scoreboard moving. Yes windies India will continue to stop you from hitting sixes. Your harsh talk might work with other teams but with Indian team its different. And Sammy after preaching Australia is doing the same mistake by talking rubbish.. While I am big fan of WI team especially Gayle.. Dwayne Bravo , Narine , Badree are all talented cricketers.. Sammy on the other hand is very arrogant... he needs to learn lot of humility from others.. Sammy is the only negative point in WI team ..otherwise WI team is fantastic.. IT is because of Gayle that WI team glows .. It is Gayle who brought that charisma to this WI team... Gayle is the driving force.. WI vs Sri lanka..will be interestin

  • krishna_cricketfan on April 2, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    It is happy to note the exuberance of the WI team. In fielding also, they did not give anything away easily. Watching Gayle diving left and right is something great. Resurgence of WI is needed for cricket. I would love to see that big bat swing, electric fielding and that fast bowling in test matches. Hope they come up in test cricket as well.

  • on April 2, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    For an England supporter, it's great to watch West Indies play cricket, with a free spirit and a smile on the face. Entertainment guaranteed, and barely a whiff of a master plan that gets you nowhere. Darren Sammy has been a revelation in this tournament. And let's remember they are doing this without two key players: Roach and Pollard. Good luck with the rest of the tournament, guys. Only one thing missing so far: would love to see Sammy and Pollard take on Steyn in the death overs!

  • Master_Mihil on April 2, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    The only reason that i like about PAK loosing to WI is so that we can defeat them our selves and avenge 2012..

  • on April 2, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    The West Indies bring a special flavour to cricket. Their unbridled joy and exultation at each success on the field without humiliating the batsmen just dismissed shows that they enjoy the game in true spirit. I love to watch them succeed. I hope they win this tournament. They richly deserve to having played and ending up victors in two great matches on view so far.

  • on April 2, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    this is all about raw power ,absolute killer hitting and even thebest of bowlers get slained but at times it gets the better of u but still if u want total ent than this type of cricket is a must and if wi succeed in continueng this they will defend the title

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 2, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Here's hoping that West Indies can replicate this magic in test cricket too.

  • MOHingora on April 2, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    WI have really played outstanding cricket against Pak and Aus, calculated and confident cricket. They were however not even close to it in the match against IND, where they appeared clueless, appearing to have gone in the ground without any intention of winning. I doubt, if both the teams meet again in the final, there result and approach would not be different.

  • delboy on April 2, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    @prime.lens wake up we are living in a different decade, playing a different, game which demand a different kind of player. Nostalgia does not compete on the field of play. Simply learn the opening words of the anthem "rally round the west indies". WI will its limited resources has outperformed twi of test cricket's big three abd have a good chance to dispose of the other in the final of this competition. The choice is yours stick to watching vcr recordings of when we were great or be part of the evolution of world cricket.

  • Kashi0127 on April 2, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Possible scenarios for Final: WI Vs SA -Best. Quality Excellent, Entertainment - Excellent WI Vs India -Good. Quality Excellent, Entertainment - Good Sri Lanka Vs SA- Good Quality Good, Entertainment - Good Sri Lanka vs India - Dull. Quality Average, Entertainment - Poor Most ideal would be the 1st scenario.

  • on April 2, 2014, 5:06 GMT

    Spinking KK, Only mad hatters will keep out Rangana Herath from the team after taking 5 for 3 in the last game. You are giving us enough rope by suggesting we play Mendis. Mendis is a very good spinner, but not against WI. Herath has the guile to tame big hitters like Brendon Mac Cullum and Tailor so why change it?

  • sreehk on April 2, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    The most destructive and powerful yet colorful and charming side on display in the tournament is West Indies. True entertainers that the world of sport will ever see. Would love to see India vs West Indies final, encore of 1983. Feel Gayle and Samuel tsunami is just around, Srilanka must be a nervous side now. But both sides have spinners who have run through sides, so a great semi-final as well!!

  • Alexk400 on April 2, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    Every pakistani batsman and bowlers during 1980-1990 was brilliant and cunning and clever. After than i have not seen single pakistani cricketer with brain. I do not know why they can produce great in one decade and below average quality in last 2 decade. May be like west indies ..diluted. Internal politics in those country caused massive deficiency in talent.

  • tharuka88 on April 2, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    well done west indies..from srilanka...wish u all the best for semis with us..i love west indies after srilanka.so i have no worries who ever lost in the semis..i just wanna see one of these team taking the title...

  • on April 2, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    Well put Bravo! LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE! What an exciting tournament.

  • prime.lens on April 2, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    I grant that they seem to be good at T20, but comparing this generation of West Indians to the team from the 80s is laughable.

  • rayinto on April 2, 2014, 2:18 GMT

    Entertain us more please! We love calypso cricket!

  • on April 2, 2014, 1:00 GMT

    Well done to the West Indies team. I am a proud of your efforts. I thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment.

  • on April 2, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    I thought from the onset that West Indies will win this tournament, beaten by India most people wrote them off. But this is what I believed a lion will always be a lion even though he bounced around with a torn in his paw, any day he can behave with the ferocity of a lion. Such is the behavior of the West Indies cricket team these days. Beating Bangladesh, Australia and Pakistan with share fearlessness. Go WEST INDIES go repeat as champion, well done Sammy and the boys from the Caribbean.

  • on April 1, 2014, 23:48 GMT

    Dwayne Bravo is a great motivator! He says if you take the game right down to the end anything is possible. That is advice that can fetch a million dollars in any trade and profession. He says don't give up, keep faith and have that self-belief. This advice is what every young girl and young boy needs to hear. Dwayne Bravo, you are a great man.

  • perrystevenhosein on April 1, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    i've being saying this along,our bowling in t20 is the best in the world people.contrats to the boys.can't wait for thursday.

  • JoshFromJamRock on April 1, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    Sri Lanka has very good reasons to be worried. West Indies could very well beat them with as much ease.

    Key points to realize.

    1)If we're all honest we'll admit that SL's attack is very good but not better than WI's.

    2)SL's two form bowlers, Malinga and Herath, can't cover all of WI's batting threats.

    3)The batting styles (backing-away-cover-driving) of Bravo and Samuels will neutralize Malinga.

    4)Gayle will not be troubled by the left-hand offspin of Herath.

    5)Smith and Simmons are due and will probably cash in on the seamers.

    6)Bravo and Sammy could/will once again provide that late surge.

    7)Selecting Mendis may help SL given his record against WI if dew isn't present.

    8)SL must be willing to play out Narine, Badree and Santokie while hoping Samuels, Bravo, Sammy and Russell bowl 8 very ordinary overs.

    9)If WI bat 1st and score anything over 160 should win comfortably due to scoreboard pressure.

    10)If SL bat 1st, they need 170 plus early WI wickets to win.

  • Twinkie on April 1, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    "Suresh Raina belittled the approach". Are the Indian players going to behave as obnoxiously as their board has? What's with the belittling of West Indies. We come out to play with bat and ball, not to take potshots at the opposition. I thought that with the Aussies and Pommies out of the tournament we would just be playing in the spirit of the game and all congratulate the eventual winners. I really miss those associate teams. They played cricket in the true spirit like the Windies. Indian fans, we still love you and appreciate the great support we get from you. May the best team win!

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    well done west indies...keep it up

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    great performance

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    Kieran Powell is the talented 23 year old test and odi player that needs to temper his habit of playing rash strokes and getting out after a start or 50. Kieron Pollard is the t20 slogger/mercenary that wants to play tests but is missing from the wt20 squad

  • Shams on April 1, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    missing Kieron Pollard, not Kieron Powell :)

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    The West Indies batting line-up is missing Kieron Pollard, not Powell. I dont think they need the stodgy Powell in this format :-)

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    The West Indies batting line-up is missing Kieron Pollard, not Powell. I dont think they need the stodgy Powell in this format :-)

  • Shams on April 1, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    missing Kieron Pollard, not Kieron Powell :)

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    Kieran Powell is the talented 23 year old test and odi player that needs to temper his habit of playing rash strokes and getting out after a start or 50. Kieron Pollard is the t20 slogger/mercenary that wants to play tests but is missing from the wt20 squad

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    great performance

  • on April 1, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    well done west indies...keep it up

  • Twinkie on April 1, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    "Suresh Raina belittled the approach". Are the Indian players going to behave as obnoxiously as their board has? What's with the belittling of West Indies. We come out to play with bat and ball, not to take potshots at the opposition. I thought that with the Aussies and Pommies out of the tournament we would just be playing in the spirit of the game and all congratulate the eventual winners. I really miss those associate teams. They played cricket in the true spirit like the Windies. Indian fans, we still love you and appreciate the great support we get from you. May the best team win!

  • JoshFromJamRock on April 1, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    Sri Lanka has very good reasons to be worried. West Indies could very well beat them with as much ease.

    Key points to realize.

    1)If we're all honest we'll admit that SL's attack is very good but not better than WI's.

    2)SL's two form bowlers, Malinga and Herath, can't cover all of WI's batting threats.

    3)The batting styles (backing-away-cover-driving) of Bravo and Samuels will neutralize Malinga.

    4)Gayle will not be troubled by the left-hand offspin of Herath.

    5)Smith and Simmons are due and will probably cash in on the seamers.

    6)Bravo and Sammy could/will once again provide that late surge.

    7)Selecting Mendis may help SL given his record against WI if dew isn't present.

    8)SL must be willing to play out Narine, Badree and Santokie while hoping Samuels, Bravo, Sammy and Russell bowl 8 very ordinary overs.

    9)If WI bat 1st and score anything over 160 should win comfortably due to scoreboard pressure.

    10)If SL bat 1st, they need 170 plus early WI wickets to win.

  • perrystevenhosein on April 1, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    i've being saying this along,our bowling in t20 is the best in the world people.contrats to the boys.can't wait for thursday.

  • on April 1, 2014, 23:48 GMT

    Dwayne Bravo is a great motivator! He says if you take the game right down to the end anything is possible. That is advice that can fetch a million dollars in any trade and profession. He says don't give up, keep faith and have that self-belief. This advice is what every young girl and young boy needs to hear. Dwayne Bravo, you are a great man.

  • on April 2, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    I thought from the onset that West Indies will win this tournament, beaten by India most people wrote them off. But this is what I believed a lion will always be a lion even though he bounced around with a torn in his paw, any day he can behave with the ferocity of a lion. Such is the behavior of the West Indies cricket team these days. Beating Bangladesh, Australia and Pakistan with share fearlessness. Go WEST INDIES go repeat as champion, well done Sammy and the boys from the Caribbean.