ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Captain Kieron Pollard believes the battle between West Indies’ power-hitters and Sri Lanka’s spinners will define the remainder of the Twenty20 International series, as the home side look to wrap up a series victory by winning Friday’s second contest.
West Indies won the opening T20 International here Wednesday by four wickets but not before leg-spinner Akila Dananjaya snatched a hat-trick to turn the run chase on its head.
And with another leg-spinner Hasaranga de Silva also creating problems with a three-wicket haul, Pollard said there would be conversations in the West Indies camp about how best to combat the threat.
“We will go back and have a look at how the dismissals were for certain individuals,” Pollard explained.
“And if you put it into cricket terms, you would want your right-handers facing the off-spinners and you want your left-handers in the middle – we have two strong left-handers in the middle in Chris (Gayle) and (Nicholas) Pooran – facing the leg-spinners as well.
“We know what the challenge is going to be throughout the entire series so it’s just a matter now of trying to combat that and see if we can continue to come out on top.”
Pollard – who struck a record-equalling six sixes in the sixth over – top-scored with an 11-ball 38, Jason Holder struck 29 not out while openers Evin Lewis (28) and Lendl Simmons (26) weighed in at the top in a 52-run stand.
However, left-handers Gayle and Pooran, along with all-rounder Fabian Allen got first-ball ‘ducks’, creating disruption in the Windies’ pursuit of 132, before Holder saw them home.
Pollard said with a quick turnaround between the second game, there would not be enough time to make adjustments in practice sessions.
“It will only be conversations. There’s not much practice you can actually do and we would’ve put in the physical practice for a couple days leading into the tournament,” the all-rounder pointed out.
“It’s having a mental picture of how we want to go about it, the sort of shots you want to play against the spinners and the match-ups in terms of our batsmen.
“We have experienced guys here who have been around for a long time and younger ones as well who are continuing to learn and want to impress on the international scene.”
West Indies took a precious 1-0 lead in the three-match series at Coolidge Cricket Ground when they limited Sri Lanka to 131 for nine off their 20 overs, and then chased down the target with 41 balls to spare.
But Pollard said there would be no resting on the laurels for the Caribbean side as they looked to not only win the second game but also improve their performance.
“I think the main objective was to win the cricket match so we ticked that box,” he noted.
“I think the bowling unit was fantastic, limiting Sri Lanka to 130-odd and then from a batting perspective I thought we got off to a very, very good start by the openers, faltered in the middle and then had a decent partnership and faltered at the end.
“Again, there are a couple things to work on but having said that, the main goal was to win the cricket match first and foremost.”
He added: “Each and every time you step on a cricket field you want to improve so from a fielding perspective, I think we were minus in the field, we want to get that into the plus in terms of saving runs and then from a batting perspective, not losing wickets in clusters and trying to find a way to use our batsmen to negate the spin of Sri Lanka.”
WEST INDIES – Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabien Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair.
SRI LANKA – Angelo Mathews (captain), Ashen Bandara, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal, Akila Dananjaya, Hasaranga de Silva, Asitha Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Oshada Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Suranga Lakmal, Dilshan Madushanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kamindu Mendis, Ramesh Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan.