Former captain Darren Sammy perhaps put it best when he likened West Indies’ quarter-final against joint hosts New Zealand, to a heavyweight boxing match against the once feared Mike Tyson.
However, Sammy was quick to remind media in New Zealand of what happened 25 years ago when the then undisputed heavyweight champion Tyson, boasting an unbeaten record, stepped into the ring against the unheralded Buster Douglas.
On that night in Tokyo, Douglas produced one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he felled Tyson. Sammy is hoping for similar theatrics at Wespac Stadium come Saturday (Friday, 9 pm TT and Eastern Caribbean time).
“It’s a big match but I remember some guy named Douglas beating Mike Tyson,” Sammy said dryly.
“It is a case of that on Saturday but we always believed from the time the tournament started that the first goal was the reach the quarter-finals and after that, you’re two knock-out games away from a World Cup final. We’ve won two but it’s been a long time and New Zealand have not won any.”
He continued: “I watched the guys warm up today and it’s just a different feel. It is the business end. You can win all your games in the preliminary round but in the knock-out there is no guarantee you’re going to win, it’s who turns up on the day.
“The guys know what is at stake and we’re going to do everything in our power to beat Mike Tyson.”
The Black Caps, like Tyson did then, enter the quarter-final with an unbeaten record. They produced a string of imperious performances along the way to win all six preliminary round games and top Group A, and have now been installed as heavy favourites to reach the final.
In contrast, West Indies can consider themselves fortunate to be in the second round. They opened with a shock four-wicket defeat to minnows Ireland, suffered heavy losses to India and South Africa, and had to beat United Arab Emirates in their final game to sneak into the quarter-finals courtesy of a superior net run rate, after finishing level on six points with Ireland.
South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets in a low-scoring first quarter-final yesterday, India are turning the screws to fashion a comprehensive win against Bangladesh in the current second quarterfinal and tonight it’s Australia versus Pakistan in the third quarter-final leading to tomorrow’s last West Indies versus New Zealand.
Bangladesh had lost six wickets for 139 runs in 36 overs, seeking 303 from 50.
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