No backing down for Windies in series deciderSunday, March 07, 2021
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Despite suffering a chastening defeat in Friday's second game, West Indies will not be in retreat when they face Sri Lanka in Sunday's decisive Twenty20 International, as they chase only their third series victory in nearly three years.
The Caribbean side won the opening match last Wednesday by four wickets after successfully chasing 132 but tumbled to a 43-run loss two days later in pursuit of 161, to leave the series wide open.
And even though they paid the price for their adventurous batting in Friday's contest at Coolidge Cricket Ground, captain Kieron Pollard said his side would not back down from their robust brand of cricket but wanted to be smarter in their approach.
“To be honest, the guys know what we have to do. We're going to have a chat about how we're going to go about it and we're going to come back with the same sort of positive intent come Sunday,” said Pollard.
“There's all to play for. We're looking to come out and win and we're looking to come out and still be positive. At the end of the day, that's the type of cricket we want to be playing – with intent.
“And it's just a matter of using a little bit of cricket smarts and using our match-ups well and we'll be fine.”
The batting collapse that led to West Indies' defeat was not entirely surprising. In the opening T20 International, they struggled to chase down a modest 132, after being undermined by leg-spinners Akila Dananjaya and Hasaranga de Silva who both snared three-wicket hauls.
And their collapse from 45 for one in the second contest to 117 all out was also instigated by three-wicket bursts from Hasaranga and left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan, the latter of whom was added to the attack after missing the first game.
Head coach Phil Simmons told media on Saturday that the key to any success would be how West Indies' batsmen navigated Sri Lanka's spinners but also reiterated Pollard's position about playing positively.
“The key is to make sure we're looking to play them (spinners) in the right way,” Simmons explained.
“You can't be too tentative when you're playing against good spinners so we have to still go out there looking to score against them, and playing cricket how we know to play cricket.
“All the guys who played IPL would have played against most of these spinners are even better spinners so that's what we have to make sure we do tomorrow.”
Despite the success of Sri Lanka's spinners, West Indies have opted for just one in off-spinner Kevin Sinclair, preferring rather to centre their attack around pace.
And Simmons said he was not overly concerned about the bowling attack, especially having limited Sri Lanka to below par totals, and then watched his batsmen struggle to chase.
“There's another spinner in the squad but there is more thought about how we negotiate, how we play, how we score runs against their spinners,” he stressed.
“I think right now that's more important because the bowlers and in the field, we've done an excellent job. [Restricting Sri Lanka to] 160 after being 94 after 10 overs, it means the bowlers are doing their jobs so it's more about how the batsmen do their job tomorrow.”
Even so, Pollard said West Indies would not be placing themselves under unnecessary pressure.
“We're going to be sitting back thinking about what we need to do, having conversations,” he noted.
“We can't do much from a technical point of view in 48 hours. It's a quick turnaround for us.
“Sometimes we get too much into different things [but] we'll keep it as simple as possible and come back and play cricket with a smile on our faces.”
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.
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