Windies need a mighty lift
WEST Indies are desperate to make a mighty statement after Wednesday's humiliating six-wicket loss to minnows Ireland in the opener of the two-match Twenty20 International series.
The teams meet again today at Sabina Park, starting at 2:00pm, and West Indies captain Darren Sammy is predicting a positive response from the world T20 title-holders.
"We are definitely coming in hard on Friday and no doubt we have to put in a much better performance and show why we are world champions.
"It's just a little bump in the road; nothing we can't patch up," he assured, after the regional team's first ever loss to Ireland in a T20 game.
Another worrying sign for the Caribbean team though, is that the defeat was the fifth straight in this format — a poor run by any stretch of the imagination.
Ireland's head coach Phil Simmons, the former West Indies batsman, presented a calm face despite the success, but conceded that the win was a massive boost to a team which was comfortably defeated by territorial outfits Guyana and Jamaica in the Regional Super50 tournament.
"I was very pleased with how we bowled and fielded and how we had that intensity for the whole 20 overs.
"It brings a lot of confidence to our dressing room and the way we [have] been doing things."
He cautiously stated that an unlikely series win against the West Indies was on the cards.
"We take it game by game and we won today (Wednesday) so we come back and we prepare for Friday and if we win Friday, we win the series. [But] we prepare as if it's the first game because the game [we won] is history," Simmons said.
Sammy explained that a mixture of circumstances, including rustiness, contributed to the regional side's lethargic show in the opening game. He insisted however that complacency was not a factor, while crediting the Irish for their disciplined show.
"I'm not looking for excuses, but it's the first time a few of our guys have been out injured [and] now coming back into cricket.
"Sometimes you play teams people think you should beat you have to guard against complacency. We did do that.
"We just didn't play well enough to beat the Irish and credit to them, they played well and they defeated us," he said.
Some questioned the choice to take first strike on a pitch which held some preparation moisture, but Sammy defended that decision, arguing that they wanted to give the batsmen the challenge of playing in such conditions.
He said that in the T20 World Cup next month his team could be asked to "bat first on a sticky wicket".
One suspects however, that he will think long and hard before opting to hit first if he wins the toss this afternoon and is faced with another batting strip with a noticeable dark tinge.
The tour ends with a One-Day International game at Sabina on Sunday.