West Indian wicket-keeper and vice-captain Denesh Ramdin says that his side are full of confidence ahead of their ICC World Twenty20 semi-final against Sri Lanka on Friday at The Oval.
"The guys are 100% confident that we can go out there and win,” he said. “If you look at the last game we had to get 80 runs from 54 balls, it was a bit tough and although we didn’t get the start that we wanted our lower order came through for us."
Many pinpoint the West Indies victory against Australia in their opening encounter as the moment in which the men in maroon announced themselves as legitimate contenders for the title, but Ramdin believes that every game has been crucial so far.
"I think all the games were crucial, going out there and winning and keeping that momentum going, we had some good team meetings to discuss the opposition and we executed them well in the last game,” he added.
Their semi-final opponents Sri Lanka are unbeaten in the tournament so far, and they beat the West Indies when the two sides met in the group stages of the competition. Ramdin, however, remains unfazed.
"They are playing great cricket so far,” he conceded. “The top three batters are the ones that are getting the runs for them and their spinners are keeping the runs down so if we can counter that, get a couple of early breakthroughs in the first six overs and keep them to a score of 140 or 150, then we will be able to chase that.”
Ajantha Mendis has been a revelation for Sri Lanka with the ball, and most teams have found scoring off Mendis and Mutiah Muralitharan very difficult. The pair went for 35 runs in eight overs between them, against Ireland on Sunday, and Ramdin is well aware of the danger threat that they pose.
"It is quite difficult - they are a fine pair of bowlers. So we want to try and get on top of them as early as possible so the captain would have to bring them back on later. He (Mendis) is a good bowler, but you have to go out there play the ball on merit and he isn’t spinning the ball that much like everyone expects so the players are trying to play him as a medium pacer score ones and twos and wait for the bad ball.”
Ramdin added that his team-mates would be looking to target the inexperienced bowlers in the Sri Lankan team.
"They have some tricky bowlers so we will target the bowlers who haven't being doing that well for them, be positive and just back ourselves," he said.
While Ramdin has been impressed with some of Sri Lanka's performances in this tournament he is of the belief that if the West Indies can get some early wickets, then his team should be able to control proceedings.
"Looking back to their game against Ireland they lost a couple of early wickets in the first six overs and that set them back. Then Jayawardene came in and he played a good innings for them. Having said that our bowlers analyse the game a lot better - they know where Jayawardene scores his runs all his career so we just have to execute.”
After the West Indies victory against England, Chris Gayle hoped for a semi-final at The Oval; that wish has now become a reality, and Ramdin is also happy to be returning to the famous South London stadium.
"It is a ground where we have had some success, hopefully we can keep that momentum going into that. It is just for us to go out there and back ourselves."
© Cricket World 2009