Sunday is like a "final" says Russell
GROS-ISLET, St. Lucia – West Indies will be playing Sunday’s fifth and final Digicel One-day International against Australia like a “grand final”, according to all-rounder Andre Russell.
With a 2-1 lead and one match to go, the Windies will chase another win to clinch the five-match Digicel ODI Series. Russell played a key role in Friday’s 42-run victory with a crucial 34 off 32 balls and two wickets.
He said everyone in the camp was fired up for the match. It will be the 21st ODI of his fledgling career, and he said a win and series capture would be “the best moment of my career so far”.
“I am very confident,” he said after Saturday morning’s training session. “I am up for the challenge. We know we can’t lose the series, but we want a bit more than that. We want to win the series. This match is like a final.
“We approached yesterday’s (Friday) match like a semi-final and we won that. We will approach tomorrow’s (Sunday) match like a final. As long as we go onto the field with the confidence that we have demonstrated all during the series we should be in with a very good chance of pulling it off. We are looking for 3-1.”
During Friday’s match, Russell added 94 in 11 overs with Kieron Pollard, who made a match-winning 102 off 70 balls. He returned with the ball and got appreciable bounce and took the key wickets of Mike Hussey and George Bailey at a crucial stage in the Australian run chase. Russell said it was a joy to be at the crease while Pollard was playing so well.
“We saw a great innings from Pollard and it inspired everyone in the dressing room,” he said. “I really enjoyed watching from the other end. He played some shots that made me say ‘wow’.
“My job was to support him and try to get him back on strike and give him as much strike as possible because. . .we know the kind of player he is and what he can do. It was a good experience for me, to play that supporting role and also feed off the confidence of the guy at the other end.”
Russell is himself a capable power-hitter. He has so far made 408 runs at an impressive strike rate of 117 and at an average of 31.38 per innings. His best score was a back-to-the-wall 92 not out against India at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground last year. He has also managed 23 wickets at 30.43 each, with best figures of 4-35 also against India on home soil at Sabina Park.
In this series, he has fought through the pain barrier with a troubling knee.
“I’m OK. I’m a tough guy,” he said. “I have not been getting the wickets I have been looking for, but when I don’t get wickets, I always look to contribute in another department with some runs, a catch or a crucial run out – anything.
“Tomorrow (Sunday), I’m going to go out, same way as I have always done, and look to do the job for the team.”
West Indies squad: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice-captain), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh Jr (wicketkeeper), Tino Best, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels
Digicel ODI Series
Friday, 16 March – Australia won by 64 runs – Arnos Vale Cricket Ground, St. Vincent
Sunday, 18 March – West Indies won by five wickets – Arnos Vale Cricket Ground, St. Vincent
Tuesday, 20 March – Tied – Arnos Vale Cricket Ground, St. Vincent
Friday, 23 March – West Indies won by 42 runs – Beausejour Cricket Ground, St. Lucia
Sunday, 25 March – 5th Digicel ODI at Beausejour Cricket Ground, St. Lucia