DHAKA – West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson has backed his team to conquer Pakistan in tomorrow’s ICC World Twenty20 clash at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Both teams are on four points from three matches – two wins and one defeat – and the winner of the contest will qualify for the semi-finals.
Speaking today ahead of the match, Gibson said the key was to stay calm and make clear decisions in the crucial encounter.
“Every game now becomes a must win if we are going to retain the World Cup. Australia was a great win. There was a lot of emotion in that game, but the focus now is to get some really good plans for Pakistan and go out and execute them. We always knew that by the time we get to the Pakistan game, it would all be in our hands and we will know exactly what we need to do,” Gibson said.
So far the Windies have lost their opening match to India but rebounded to beat Bangladesh by a huge margin. They had a sensational six-wicket win over Australia with skipper Darren Sammy blasting 12 off the final over to win with two balls to spare.
“Pakistan have always been a dangerous team. We have had some good games against them in the past and we are really looking forward to the game. It is a must win for us and when we have those situations then, like you saw against Australia, we just have to stay calm.
“And again we need to have solid plans against them and their key men and it comes down to the players on the day executing those plans, but you have to stay calm.
“With the right people at the crease and the right mindset and people staying calm, almost any score is achievable like we proved against the Australians.”
Captain Sammy acknowledged that tomorrow’s match would not be an easy one but that his charges had every intention of doing their utmost to defend their Twenty20 title successfully.
“It’s a do or die for us . . . go big or go home. This is an important game against Pakistan, who are playing very well at the moment. But as we said before we left home, we came here to retain the title, so we will give this all we have. We’re going to do everything to defend our title,” Sammy said.
“Tomorrow’s not going to be an easy game. The thing is when we left home, we said by the time we reach the final Super 10 match against Pakistan, we’ll know exactly what we need to do, and now we’re only going to focus on what we have to do against Pakistan to win.”
Today Sammy and the rest of the team had a full training session at the match venue prior to their media engagement. The West Indies skipper spoke of the Windies’ game plan to combat the strong Pakistani spin attack.
“Whatever approach we come with, we definitely have to rotate the strike. It is something we’ve been working on and hopefully we can rotate the strike and get the boundaries in between, and play much better against spin than we’ve done in the past.
“We’ve prepared ourselves, and we knew coming down to our fourth game it would be Pakistan and we knew exactly what we have to do, and spin is something that we have to conquer in that game.
“With that said, we back ourselves, put our runs on the board and defend it, or if it’s the other way around, restrict them to a low total and chase it down like we did against Australia, but hopefully it’s not 170 we chase.”
Saqlain Mushtaq, the former Pakistan off-spinner, is the West Indies assistant coach and Sammy outlined he has worked closely with all members of the squad, including Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree – who are the top-ranked bowlers in the ICC World T20 rankings.
“Saqlain has been a good addition to us, especially with the spinners. We have the Number 1 and Number 2 spinners in our dressing room as well. We have been practising the way we want to go out and play, whether it be rotating that ball in the middle, we know we could get the boundaries, so we just have to do that,” Sammy noted.
“You respect your opposition, but at the end of the day, we have shown that on any given day, the best bowler can go for many runs, like that final against Sri Lanka. We have our plans, we have to go out and execute them, and we believe we can do that.”
The game starts at 9:30 a.m. local time.