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April 30, 2010
Both Dwayne Bravo, West Indies' stand-in captain against Ireland, and their matchwinner Darren Sammy believe the local fans can give the team a vital edge during the World Twenty20. An almost full house at Providence watched the hosts recover from an uncertain position with the bat to post a comfortable 70-run victory.
The crowd swelled as the opening day of the tournament progressed and by the time West Indies began their innings the stands were packed and noisy. When the middle order fell away they feared a repeat of the collapse that cost them the warm-up match against New Zealand, but Sammy stepped forward with a 17-ball 30 before capping a fine all-round display with four catches and figures of 3 for 8.
"The home advantage will play an important part and once our fans get behind us it really gets us going," Bravo said. "They were a bit disappointed during our warm-up game, but tonight showed we are a much better team than we showed then. I know for the next game against England there will be a bigger crowd still and it's always important. We can use that to our advantage."
Bravo was handed the captaincy at the last minute when Chris Gayle withdrew with a muscle strain. For a while it looked to have destabilised the team, but the home side were very impressive with the ball and in the field as they overwhelmed their Associate opposition.
"Obviously losing Chris at the beginning was a bit of a setback but I think we regrouped well as a team," Bravo said. "We knew how important this game was for us to get off to a winning start. It was great to see how we played and I'm sure a lot of people will be happy.
"We got off to a good start, faltered in the middle and finished strongly at the end and that's the most important thing. Getting over 130 with their batting line-up and our bowling attack I would back my team any day and I knew we were good enough to go and defend that total."
There was a far more downbeat assessment from William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, who was left knowing this was a chance to notch another major scalp. Porterfield was caught at second slip off the second ball of the innings as Ireland stumbled to 13 for 3 before a short rain break and there was no way back for them.
"It's not just the fact we lost, but the way we lost especially with the bat," he said. "It's pretty disappointing being bowled out for 68, it doesn't matter who you are playing against or what conditions were like. You don't have any excuses.
"The way we bowled and fielded we were right in it after 20 overs so it's a massive missed opportunity. We were really struggling after the first 10 balls losing three wickets and it set us right on the back foot."
However, he was already looking ahead to Ireland's next match against England on Tuesday knowing there is still a chance that his team can progress. "If West Indies pull off a result [against England] then it comes down to a shoot out between ourselves and England to get into the Super Eights so there's still a massive amount to play for."
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