NOTTINGHAM, England – Left-hander Darren Bravo has stressed the importance of starting the World Cup on a winning note and has warned teammates not to take Pakistan lightly.
West Indies, labelled one of the underdogs in the tournament, open their campaign tomorrow when they clash with the Asian side at Trent Bridge.
The Caribbean side are coming off a handsome win in their final warm-up against New Zealand when they amassed a mammoth 421. In contrast, Pakistan were stunned by Afghanistan in their first warm-up before suffering a wash-out in the second game against Bangladesh.
However, Bravo said Pakistan remained a dangerous side and West Indies would not take them lightly, even if they appeared in a slump at the moment.
“At the end of the day we want to come out with the win. Regardless of the total we just want to come out with the points under our belt,” said the 30-year-old, who has played 107 One-Day Internationals.
“We’re looking forward to the encounter. We know it’s going to be a challenging game because with Pakistan you can never take them lightly. They are a very good team. It is World Cup cricket and you have to go out there and play your best cricket.”
He added: “We really want to win this game and start off our campaign on a high. Don’t matter how many runs we get, we just want to come out with a win.”
West Indies’ strength will be in their batting headed by left-handed opener Chris Gayle. The 39-year-old is a veteran of 289 ODIs and has piled up 10 151 runs along with 25 hundreds.
He is complemented by the in-form Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran – all of whom are age 25 or under – while Bravo, captain Jason Holder and Andre Russell provide extra firepower.
“If you look at our batting line-up, you can see the firepower. We’ve a good blend of experience and youth and we’ve showed glimpses that we can be a very dangerous team,” Bravo pointed out.
“I think we have a very good blend of experience and youth. Chris at the top of the order will obviously look to set the momentum for us. As younger players we really look up to him as well, he’s always there motivating us. We’re really glad to have him and I think he gives us that extra bonus at the top.”
Pakistan, in their current form, present West Indies with an ideal opportunity to start the tournament positively. They have lost 13 of their last 18 ODIs and are coming off a 4-0 hammering to England earlier this month.
However, Bravo said the Windies’ focus would not be on Pakistan but on trying to execute their own game plans.
“As a team we don’t really want to focus too much on the opposition,” he noted.
“We’ve identified some of their weaknesses but we want to go out there and focus on our game – we want to bat well, we want to bowl well, we want to field well most importantly. As long as we get those facets of our game right, I don’t see any reason why we can’t come out on top.”
West Indies’ performance against New Zealand caused several opposing teams to take note, especially the seemingly effortless manner in which they posted 400 runs.
But Bravo said more important than the total was the execution which the team hoped to repeat.
“I think as a team we had a game plan in that particular game and we came up against a very good bowling lineup with the likes of (Trent) Boult and (Lockie) Ferguson,” he said.
“It was a good workout for us and we were confident in our game plan. We executed and I’m sure moving into this game tomorrow against Pakistan we will try to do the same.” (CMC)