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Saturday, October 6, 2012


It was only a semi-final; but it had all the hallmarks of a final! When Johnson Charles was out early and Marlon Samuels made his way to the wicket to join Chris Gayle, I was reminded of a Bolt-Blake combination on the track.

There's absolutely no doubt that Samuels is in fine form with the bat; but the fact remains that Gayle is the veritable powerhouse in T20 cricket. And now that their confidence (as well as the team confidence) is high, together they have the destructive power to annihilate any bowling attack in very much the same way that Bolt and Blake have done in the track and field circuit in recent months!

In the cricketing world, Australia is renowned for their "nerves of steel" and their uncanny ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They have never been known to capitulate and will fight down to the last ball even if they are pitted against the odds. A glimpse of that “frame” was on display in the semi-final when their captain (Bailey) came to the wicket and blasted 63 in 29 balls; but it was Windies time on Friday.

Gayle was a hurricane and Pollard was a tornado. The two forces combined to unleash their full might against Australia. Gayle was like Hurricane Tomas: he stuck around with “no sense of urgency” to go anywhere and unleash untold damage unto his opponents; Pollard struck with the swiftness and destructiveness of a tornado; he destroyed everything that was in his path.

Theoretically, the Windies (on paper) were touted as the potentially most destructive team in the ICC T20 tournament; but up to Friday, they did not deliver the goods expected of them! Logic and statistics were firmly against them and they took another firm hit in the ICC ranking just before the games began, dropping near the bottom of the table to no. 8.  (On October 5, they moved up two places to no. 6.) They were not expected to annihilate the mighty Aussies so overwhelmingly but they did so resoundingly!

The Aussies team performed almost par excellence throughout the tournament and they were on a clear path to the finals. They defeated Windies in the Round Robin stage (albeit under the Duckworth-Lewis method) despite a Windies stunning performance of 191 for 8. Their openers (Watson and Warner) were in destructive form and they were rolling ahead with confidence but the Semi-final was a different match.

The sheer psychological weight of chasing a mammoth 205 must have crushed them this time; the destructive power of Gayle and Pollard must have destabilized them and the coping with Narine must also have weighed heavily on their minds; and those to my mind must have been the major variables in the Windies victory equation.

Australia is now history and the job is only half done; the final showdown is tomorrow (Sunday) and I believe it is ours to win, once we get a few things right.

Firstly, we must take a few lessons from the semi-final. We must exude the confidence, competence and the “positiveness” we carried into the semi-final. We must put the “siege mentality” behind us and go out there with the confidence and consensus that we can do it.

Secondly, we must have a clear game plan backed by contingency plans A, B and C! We must not go about hitting every ball for 4 or 6; yet, we must never allow opportunities for boundaries to go “a-begging”. We must also show a keener "outlook" to intelligently capitalize on the opportunities for 1’s and 2’s without throwing our wicket away via the run out route.

Very importantly, we must anticipate the “game plan” of our opponent and not fall into their traps.

On balance, we do not only have more “power” than Sri Lanka; we are technically sounder than them! But our major pitfall is our propensity to allow ourselves to be trapped in a psychological quagmire and snatch “defeat from the jaws of victory”; this must never happen this time around.  

In conclusion, I must say I am cautiously confident that we will beat Sri Lanka largely because of our batting depth and bowling configuration. Yes! They (Sri Lanki) have beaten twice in the tournament, but it’s now a different kettle of fish and its our turn to beat them! Gayle is in the right frame of mind to execute his power; Samuels is in fine form and clicking; Bravo is batting with purpose and grit; and Pollard have shown signs that his destructive power is coming back to him.

There is no doubt that Narine, Badree and Samuels will be more than a challenge to the Sri Lankan batsmen; they are maturing admirably! Rampaul is now a more focused bowler. Sammy, Pollard (and perhaps Gayle) can share the remaining 4 overs between them. it is therefore clear we have all the infrastructure we need to win to win tomorrow's final!

"Guys"! Let’s therefore get out there with the “killer cricketing instinct” of Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner (to name a few) for which we have always been renowned and let's bring the beef home to the Caribbean.

We love you and we truly wish you the best of luck! 

Go to to bed early, get a good night rest and let's get the job done executioner-style tomorrow! GOOD NIGHT!

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