Millennium Post

Erratic West Indies need something special against fancied New Zealand

Erratic West Indies need something special against fancied New Zealand
Both teams have taken contrasting routes to reach the last eight stage with New Zealand winning all their six pool games and West Indies scraping through as the fourth placed team from Group B. An unpredictable West Indies need Gayle for the crucial knock-out game even as captain Jason Holder said a final call on the dangerous opener will be taken not before match day morning.

“He has an injection and a scan. The scan didn’t show anything major, so we’ll just see how he pulls up on Thursday and make a decision on Saturday morning,” the skipper said.

Gayle, however, trained for the first time this week this morning after receiving an injection in his lower back. Though dispelling the notion that West Indies were overtly dependant on Gayle, Holder said any team would love to have the left-hander on board. “Well, obviously Chris’s stats speak for themselves. He is one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket. So to have Chris on the squad is a plus for anybody. So to have him there, just h is presence, is something.

“Having said that, we won the last game without him, so I can’t say we can’t win without him, you know? Obviously he has been a very good player for us over the years. But it has been shown that we have got people to fit the bill. We have got Johnson Charles who came in the last game and he got a half-century and looked the part,” said Holder.

The captain himself has been a key player for the West Indies, performing both with the bat and ball in the side’s three wins and as many losses in the group stage. While West Indies have little to lose, New Zealand are bound to feel the pressure of expectations as the tournament co-hosts. They showed imperious form in the league phase, running through opponents barring the thrilling one-wicket win over Australia. The onus will be on Brendon McCullum to give his team another blazing start. While captaining on the field, he would expect his pacers to carry on with their good work.

It is a knockout match but McCullum promised New Zealand will continue to play aggressive cricket. “We need to go out and play that attacking brand of cricket we have exhibited throughout. It doesn’t guarantee us success, and I have said that all the way along, but it definitely gives the team the best opportunity of being successful,” said McCullum.

Teams New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor; West Indies (from): Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels, Sulieman Benn, Johnson Charles, J Carter, S Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, D Smith, J Taylor, Nikita Miller. Match starts 6:30am (IST).

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