'We still have to look to score' - Windies coach Simmons cautions batsmen not to be overly tentative against spinners

By Sports Desk March 06, 2021

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes batsmen must avoid the temptation of being too tentative in looking to navigate the Sri Lanka spin attack, as the team looks to bounce back in the third and decisive T20 international, on Sunday.

The Windies took the opening match of the series with a comfortable four-wicket win, with 41 balls remaining.  On Friday, however, Sri Lanka came roaring back to claim the second match after a star performance from the team’s spinners.

Lakshan Sandakan and Wanidu Hasaranga proved particularly hard to negotiate, each claiming three wickets, with Sandakan boasting a miserly economy rate of 2.73.  In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 160 for 6, the Windies were restricted before being bundled out of 116.  Things had not gone smoothly against the spin in the first match, despite the result, with Akila Danajaya claiming a four-for, including a third over hat-trick before being taken apart by Windies captain Kieron Pollard who smashed 6 sixes off his over.  The coach believes a similar approach could pay dividends in the decider.

“The key is playing them in the right way.  You can’t be too tentative when you are playing against good spinners,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“We have to still go out there and look to score against them and playing cricket how we know how to play cricket,” he added.

“All the guys who played IPL would have played against these spinners or even better spinners and done well, so that is what we have to make sure we do tomorrow.”

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    Harry Brook says England are out to give the United States "a good battering" in Sunday's T20 World Cup contest as they bid to clinch a place in the last four.

    Having beaten West Indies and lost to South Africa thus far in the Super 8s, England can all but secure a semi-final berth with a convincing win over the co-hosts in Barbados.

    A good run-rate could prove pivotal in Group 2, where there is a chance of England, South Africa and West Indies all finishing on four points.

    With that in mind, Brook has backed Jos Buttler's team to go on the offensive, saying: "We've got to win and then obviously see how we are on net run-rate but the main thing is to definitely get that win.

    "We've played in Barbados quite a lot in the past six months so we know the conditions, we know the wind and the pitch as well so hopefully we can go out there and give them a good battering.

    "I haven't actually seen them play, just a few highlights here and there of their bowlers, but we'll do our analysis and have a proper look to make sure we're ready for the game."

    Net run-rate was the only thing that helped England survive the group stage, as they narrowly edged out Scotland to finish second behind Australia.

    "We've been there before," Brook added. "We've got to concentrate on winning it first and then we'll have a chat and see what the run-rate says."

  • Hope emphasizes “stay ready” mentality after masterclass 82* against USA Hope emphasizes “stay ready” mentality after masterclass 82* against USA

    For a long time, West Indies ODI skipper Shai Hope was looked at as a batsman who would struggle in the shortest form of the game because of what many described as an inability to score quickly.

    Over the last couple years, however, Hope has rubbished those sentiments thanks to some destructive batting performances in the CPL as well as in leagues around the world.

    His evolution as a T20 batsman was none more evident than during the West Indies’ game against the USA at the ICC T20 World Cup on Friday in his home country of Barbados.

    Looking to bounce back from a loss to England in their first game of the Super 8 on Wednesday, the joint hosts dismissed their American counterparts for 128 after losing the toss at the Kensington Oval.

    The West Indians then needed only 10.5 overs to reach 130-1, with Hope finishing 82* off just 39 balls. In a brilliant display of power hitting, Hope hit eight sixes and four fours on the way to his highest score in T20 Internationals.

    “Clinical,” was how Hope described the team’s performance on Friday in a post-match press conference.

    “Especially coming off the loss that we had a couple days ago. It's great to see the guys understood the assignment today and we played the cricket that we wanted to play. It's important for us to continue in this vein because we see what's at stake now. But yeah, very happy with the bounce back that we did today and there's a lot more cricket to play and we're looking forward to it,” he added.

    On his own individual performance, Hope was happy to perform in front of his home crowd.

    “Yeah, it was an amazing crowd. It's nice to see everyone came out and support us today. Something that we get in the Caribbean when we're doing well, we tend to see a lot more supporters out there. So that means we must be doing something right if you've got a solo crowd. But yeah, the crowd was rocking today,” he said.

    “I thought that the support was amazing. Again, I'm from Barbados so playing in front of this lovely crowd meant a lot more to me. Scoring some runs and winning the game for the team felt even more special so I'm very happy to do that,” Hope added.

    At the start of the tournament, Hope was on the outside of the XI looking in. He missed the first three games before coming into the side ahead of Roston Chase in the third game against Afghanistan where he 25 batting at number four.

    The 30-year-old was then left out once again for the Super 8 opener against England. A side strain suffered by Brandon King during that game meant Hope was given an opportunity at the top of the order against the USA, an opportunity that he grabbed with both hands.

    “Yeah, it's a great feeling. Again, whatever the team requires, that's me. Unfortunately, King had to leave us. Hopefully, he recovers quickly. But yeah, I had to go at the top this time around and the aim was just to get off to a good start. You see the importance of finishing the game early as well. So yeah, I had a good time in the middle, good surface and I enjoyed batting tonight,” he said.

    “Just have to stay ready in a tournament like this. There's a reason why we have 15 players. All of them need to be ready whenever the time comes,” he added.

    Finally, Hope issued a plea to the fans of the West Indies to continue supporting them on their journey to a third ICC T20 World Cup title.

    “Keep rallying. That's our motto. We always talk about rallying around the West Indies. That's exactly what we need to keep doing. The team rallying around each other. The fans need to do the same. We're out there fighting for each and every one of us. So, you understand the importance and the magnitude of the tournament. We're playing a home World Cup, something that I'm sure a lot of cricketers over their careers may not get the opportunity to do. We understand the importance of this in particular and we know how much the fans really want us to win so we're fighting, we're doing it for them and it's great to see the support I hope that it continues for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

    The West Indies will take on South Africa in their last Super 8 match on Sunday in Antigua.

  • Hope on fire as West Indies thrash fellow T20 World Cup hosts USA Hope on fire as West Indies thrash fellow T20 World Cup hosts USA

    West Indies hammered their fellow T20 World Cup hosts the United States by nine wickets to put themselves in the driving seat for a semi-final spot.

    Having lost their opening Super 8s match to England, the Windies bounced back in style in Barbados on Friday.

    Shai Hope's unbeaten 82, which came from 39 balls and included eight sixes, three of which came on the bounce, saw West Indies surpass the target of just 129 within 11 overs.

    Hope was recalled to the team after an injury to Brandon King, but will be a tough drop for Rovman Powell now.

    The USA had made a promising start, but slipped from 51-1 to 65-4 in the space of three overs, with Andre Russell the pick of the Windies' bowlers (3-31).

    They were skittled out for 128, with Hope, Johnson Charles (15) and Nicholas Pooran (27 not out) wasting little time in securing a margin of victory that sends West Indies above England in Group 2, while their net run rate is also superior to South Africa's.

    The Proteas are West Indies' final opponents, while defending champions England face the USA in their last Super 8s match.

    Data Debrief: Windies in fine fettle

    West Indies have now won nine of their 11 T20Is in 2024, after winning eight games in each of 2022 and 2023.

    Their tally of victories this year matches 2021 as their best effort in a single calendar year.

    They have also won five of their last seven T20Is at Kensington Oval, and their last three in a row.

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