Kingston, Jamaica — West Indies captain Darren Sammy was full of praise for his team after Thursday’s massive nine-wicket victory over New Zealand in the opening Digicel One-Day International. The skipper urged his players to bring their “A-Game” again on Saturday when Windies look to maintain their dominance as the teams return to Sabina Park for the second game of the five-match series.
Thursday’s comprehensive win handed the home side their third consecutive victory over the visitors – following last weekend’s 2-0 win in the Digicel T20 Series in south Florida. The hero on Thursday was hometown boy Andre Russell, who took 4-45 with the new ball – a Man-of-the-Match performance which was also a special birthday gift for his mother.
“We are going to take it one game at a time. We are looking to win but you have to put in that hard work. We are seeing good performances in all departments. It was a very professional display by the team yet again … exactly the type of start that we wanted to the series,” Sammy said.
“Russell, after sitting out the two Twenty20s, showed what he is capable of by coming and making good use of what was a fairly moist wicket. He set the tone for us for the rest of the match. We then had Sunil Narine, who continues to be very good for us, with crucial wickets. Ravi Rampaul was good as well … he always does well here at Sabina. With the second game set for Saturday here again, we hope to put in a similar performance.”
Narine again proved a difficult bowler for the New Zealanders and ended with 2-26 off his 10 overs. Rampaul backed up well with 2-42, another good return at Sabina, his most successful ground in ODI cricket.
Sammy said it is the team’s desire to keep the pressure on the Black Caps and maintain the winning streak. With this in mind, he cautioned his team-mates not to look too far ahead.
“The aim is to continue … doing what we are doing. So far on this trip we have been very professional and we have been successful. Whether we bat or bowl we will look to be consistently good in all departments,” Sammy said.
“It was very good to restrict New Zealand for under 200 runs on that pitch. There is always room for improvement. Probably some would say we should have bowled them out after we had them five down under 100, but overall to restrict them to 190 was good and you would take that any day on that kind of track.”
The captain added: “We want to make sure whatever we do, we do it in a professional manner. We will look to come out, most likely with the same team on Saturday, and aim to go 2-0 up. Playing here at Sabina, the pitch always offers something for the bowlers early on and then gets better for batting as the day progresses.
“Cricket is a game where if you don’t come out and perform on the day, anything can happen. We have a lot of respect for the opposition but we will look to maintain the upperhand and keep them down. We are playing some good cricket against them at the moment and it is good to see the team is enjoying it and we are putting in some good performances in the middle.”
The second Digicel One-Day International will be played at Sabina Park on Saturday. First ball is 9.30 am (10.30 am Eastern Caribbean Time).