COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC) — West Indies opening batsman Chris Gayle said he is pleased with the overall performance of his team which defeated Afghanistan by eight wickets before its opening game of the ICC Twenty tournament in Sri Lanka this weekend.
Gayle struck a boundary filled 65 and received support from Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels as the West Indies easily surpassed the Afghanistan score of 122 runs.
The former West Indies captain says he was especially impressed with the effort from the bowlers in hot, energysapping conditions to restrict the batsmen to a low score.
“It was a decent pitch to bat on so credit must go to the bowlers for the way they went out and restricted Afghanistan for 122, and that helped us to finish off strongly with the bat. I’m really happy with that,” Gayle said.
“I think we stuck to the task well against Afghanistan. We didn’t get off to a flyer when we batted, we lost Smithy (Dwayne Smith) so I had to build a partnership with young Johnno (Johnson Charles) and he played well. When he got out Marlon came in and we finished off well. A lot of guys didn’t get a hit, but they are preparing mentally for the first match”.
The West Indies, which lost their first warm-up game against Sri Lanka, is scheduled to have another training session on Tuesday at the P Sara Oval at 2 pm (4:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time/3:30 am Jamaica Time).
The Caribbean side opens their campaign in the tournament against Australia on Saturday at the R Premadasa Stadium in Khetterama. First ball is 7:30 pm (11 am Eastern Caribbean Time/10 am Jamaica Time).
“The main challenge is going to be the first match with the Aussies. If we get past Australia we should know where we’re at,” Gayle said.
“Even if that doesn’t happen we have to make sure we qualify and that would make the game against Ireland vital for us... they have upset a lot of big teams so we have to be very mindful of that.”
West Indies are going into the tournament as one of the pre-tournament favourites and is currently ranked number five on the ICC’s Twenty/20 table.
Gayle is confident that the Caribbean side, which recently completed nine days of intense training in Barbados, can advance to the finals.
“The sub-continent teams are always challenging and the task against them will be difficult” said the big-hitting left-handed batsman.
“Every team has a chance, but I know once we stick to our plans I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t make it to the final and take it from there.”