We're ready! Gayle says Windies in shape to topple Aussies
Windies Women also face Aussies in T20 semis
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC) — Opening batsman Chris Gayle says West Indies are peaking at the right time as they take on Australia in the second semi-final of the ICC World Twenty/20 today.
The contest will be under lights at the R Premasada Stadium and the reward for victory will be a spot in the grand finale against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
"We are peaking at the right time and we will look to give the people back home something to cheer about," said the big-hitting batsman.
"Reaching the final will be the number one factor and from there we will look to cross that final hurdle."
Gayle says he is ready to perform his heroics on the "big stage" today.
"Playing against Australia there will always be a lot of hype about the match. You always want to do well against a team like Australia, with all their 'big' names and all the really great clashes," said Gayle.
"It won't be an easy game for sure, but we will look to put them on the backfoot from early, whether we bowl first or bat first".
Gayle, who turned 33 at the start of the tournament, is the most destructive power-hitter in the modern game. Earlier this week he entered the history books as the first cricketer to hit 300 sixes in Twenty20 cricket.
"We played against Australia in the first round so we know what they have to offer. So it's a matter that we go out there and play to our strengths, go for the win, try to reach that final and try to win the cup," said Gayle.
"I am confident. The mind is always key for you to go out there and execute your game plan."
This is the second time the West Indies have reached the Final Four of the ICC World T20 tournament. The first occasion was back in 2009 when the event was played in England and Gayle was at the helm.
Meanwhile, captain Darren Sammy says his players are hell bent on giving long suffering fans something to cling to as they prepare to battle Australia.
Amid signs of a recovery in West Indies cricket, Sammy says his men are determined to cross the final two hurdles of the tournament in their quest for world cricket glory once more.
The skipper says a 'can do' attitude has been instilled in the team eager to keep the smiles on the faces of die-hard fans following a successful London Olympics for Caribbean athletes.
"Since the coach came on board, we've instilled a positive, can-do attitude in the team. We have a lot of belief, and that's been the biggest factor for us," said Sammy.
"We saw it as a 100-metre hurdle. We've got two more hurdles to jump to reach the finish line. Tomorrow is about jumping that hurdle."
West Indies appear to be the slight favourites over Australia despite their loss to them by 17 runs by the Duckworth Lewis method in their group stage encounter.
In that match, West Indian batsmen punished the bowlers with no Aussie bowler conceding less than seven-an-over.
Sammy is expected to turn to mystery spinner Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree in a spin offensive against the Australians who have shown extreme vulnerability to this form of bowling in the tournament.
Narine, considered the Windies trump card, bowled two overs for only five runs in the 17th and 19th of the New Zealand match to put the Caribbean side back into contention.
Meantime, the West Indies women will also face Australia in the semi-finals of the ICC World T20, making it the first time that both West Indies teams have qualified for the Final Four in the same tournament.
Both semi-finals will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium and will be broadcast "live" on television.
The women's match will be at 2:30 pm (5:00 am Eastern Caribbean Time/4:00 am Jamaica Time), while the men's match will be at the same venue under lights at 7:00 pm (9:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time/8:30 am Jamaica Time).