By Wisden India Staff in Mirpur
West Indies captain concedes that his team didn’t get the right start in either innings during the seven-wicket loss to India
Darren Sammy chose to credit India’s bowlers rather than criticise his batsmen after his side’s seven-wicket loss in its opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Sunday (March 23) night.
West Indies, the defending champion, never really got off the blocks and settled for 129 for 7, a total India overhauled with seven wickets to spare to hit the top of Group 2 of the Super 10 phase.
While most of the damage in terms of wickets was done by the spinners, Bhuvneshwar Kumar set the tone for India with 16 dot balls during a three-over opening burst of 0 for 3. “I think credit must go to the opening bowlers,” said Sammy, the West Indies captain. “Kumar swung the ball both in and out and he bowled good areas. We know they were bowling to the two most dangerous openers (Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith) in this format of the game. They kept them quiet. There is no need to panic for us, it is just one round goes to India. We have three more games left in the tournament, and we back ourselves to win them.
“We just didn’t respond well enough to their spinners. Round one goes to India. I have a strong feeling that we will meet again, so we are looking forward to that. They used the conditions quite well. India loves to chase, so we knew once we lost the toss that we were going to bat first. It’s a fact that we just didn’t bat well. We didn’t bat well and we still got to 130. We will take heart from that. Once we get that good start ... we never kicked off in the innings.”
India’s spinners have had great success in both their matches so far at the Sher-e-Bangla. “They bowled wicket-to-wicket,” pointed out Sammy. “Normally, if you let a spinner settle, he will get his line and length and variation of his pace which he wants to bowl. In both games, they have settled into a nice rhythm. They are controlling the pace of the innings from there.
“Normally, whether you bat or bowl first, the start is very important and in the games that we have played, we have got good starts from Chris and Smith at the top. And when we bowl, normally we get good starts from (Samuel) Badree and whoever is bowling. In this game, we didn’t get the best of starts, both bowling and batting, and we were always behind India in the eight-ball. We didn’t answer quick enough to India.”
West Indies left out Ravi Rampaul, their experienced pacer, for Krishmar Santokie, the left-arm medium pacer. Justifying the decision, Sammy said, “Like I said before the match, Santokie has been really good for us building up to this tournament. It is good to have Rampaul as our leading fast bowler in the team. I know he will get his opportunity soon. As you could see playing here in Bangladesh, spin is going to play a big part in this tournament. We have four guys who could spin – two specialist spinners (Badree and Sunil Narine), and Gayle and Marlon (Samuels) who could take pace off the ball for us. I still think the combination was right, we just didn’t have enough runs to play with.”
India slowed down with victory in sight, going from 107 when Virat Kohli was dismissed to its target of 130 in a further 30 deliveries. Sammy chose to take heart from that, saying his aim was to keep India’s batsmen out for as long as possible. “That’s exactly what we were thinking out there – to try and take the game as far deep as possible into the last overs. Net run-rate normally comes into play in these tournaments. They getting the runs with two balls to spare, it is a plus for us.”