Bravo says WI ready to kick on
KINGSTON, Jamaica – West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo has expressed great delight with his team’s impressive victory over Sri Lanka in their opening match of the CELKON Mobile Cup Tournament and says the team’s confidence is high heading into Sunday’s clash with India.
Speaking after the six-wicket win at Sabina Park on Friday, Bravo said it was “not a perfect game” but a called it “a great team effort and the best way to start”. He also added that it was vital the Windies were able to get one bonus point, which could prove vital later in the Tri-Nations tournament.
West Indies produced an excellent bowling performance to oust Sri Lanka for 208, and then raced to 209-6 off 37.5 overs to win with a whopping 73 balls to spare.
The bowling was led by ace off-spinner Sunil Narine, who confirmed his status as the leading bowler in this format with 4-40, a spell which ripped the heart out of the Sri Lankan batting.
Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul recovered from an ankle injury to take three wickets in a brilliant spell with the old ball while Bravo was not to be outdone, snapping up two wickets.
What followed was the “Chris Gayle Show” as the left-handed opener blasted his first ODI century in a year to signal a return to form in front of his home crowd in Kingston. He hit nine fours and seven sixes in a brilliant display of power-hitting – as he recorded the 21st century of his career – the most by a West Indian and which left him joint fifth on the all-time list.
He added an opening century stand with Johnson Charles who chipped in with 29.
“They got off to a decent start but I had in the back of my mind once we picked up wickets we would stall their momentum. We know their middle order and lower order is not that experienced, so we had to keep picking up wickets and that was the game plan,” Bravo said as he assessed his side’s bowling effort.
“Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach and Sunil Narine set the tone for us. One can't forget Darren Sammy’s spell – that killed the momentum in the Sri Lanka innings. Bowling them out for 208 was a fantastic effort by the bowlers.
“When we batted you saw how dominant we can be. Chris came out and played really well for us and he continues to be our best player and one of the best in the world. It was really good to see the way he went about it today. We also have to give credit to Johnson Charles, who even though he wasn’t fluent, stayed with Chris to make sure we did not lose any early wickets.”
Gayle’s knock ended a run of low scores dating back to last summer where he had gone without a half-century in over ten innings. However, the Jamaican was at his brutal best, reaching his landmark off a mere 89 balls, before falling for 109 off 100 deliveries, with victory virtually assured.
Bravo said the magnificent innings was not only important for Gayle’s confidence but also from a team perspective.
“This century, and the way he dominated the bowling will ease pressure off him. I know, at the back of his mind, that he felt he was not scoring big runs. But he knows how important a player he is for us,” Bravo pointed out.
“I am very happy that he scored a hundred again and batted deep into the innings. When Chris is in that kind of form, it is only good for us as a team and for West Indies cricket.”
With the wind in their sails, a large crowd is expected to gather at Sabina Park on Sunday to see the Windies clash with India at 9:30 am (10:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time).
Bravo said though India was the top-ranked one-day team in the world, the Windies were up for the fight and would not be cowering.
“This win will do us very well. It was the kind of start we were looking for – bowling well and then batting well to close out the game,” he said.
“We don’t have to change much when we face India. They are a very good team and we know it is going to do well as both teams are very strong. Let’s see how it goes. I am going to make sure that we come out and give 100 percent again and look to string another win.
“We always look forward to playing against India – they are the number one team in the world in this format and it is always good to test yourself against the best. I am going to make sure we bring out ‘A game’ on Sunday fight all the way to the end.”
Responding to a question, Bravo pointed out that even if they beat India and went on to win the tournament, the key for West Indies would be continued improvement.
“We are Number 8 in the world and India and Number 1, even if we beat India on Sunday and then go on to win this tri-nation tournament we won’t say we are the ‘best in the world’,” he stressed.
“There is a process to be the number one team and our aim is to go up and my job as the captain if to encourage the guys to move up. We will continue to press for other victories.”
Schedule of matches – 9:30 am
Friday, June 28: West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Sunday, June 30: West Indies vs India – Sabina Park
Tuesday, July 2: India vs Sri Lanka – Sabina Park
Friday, July 5: West Indies vs India – Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Sunday, July 7: West Indies vs Sri Lanka – Queen’s Park Oval
Tuesday, July 9: Sri Lanka vs India – Queen’s Park Oval
Thursday, July 11: The Final: 1st vs 2nd – Queen’s Park Oval