Australia take on West Indies in high-voltage contest

Australia take on West Indies in high-voltage contest

The war of words between James Faulkner and West Indies continued on Thursday with Darren Sammy gently reminding the thrashing they gave to Australia in the semifinals of the 2012 edition in Sri Lanka and setting the stage for a high-voltage contest here on Friday.

Faulkner, on Wednesday, had remarked that he didn’t quite like West Indies and that he would love to beat them. Sammy wasn’t amused and said his team rather preferred to walk the talk. With both teams featuring some of the cleanest and biggest hitters of the cricket ball, there is going to be loads of entertainment. The fireworks, however, won’t be restricted to hitting sixes and fours alone. The match is sure to see some liberal dose of lip service too.    
“The Australians normally have a lot to say,” Sammy said when asked about Faulkner’s comments on Wednesday. “We are here to play cricket. I think probably James is the only cricketer that does not love West Indians. I could safely say (apart from their respective nations) West Indies are the second favourite team of the fans. It does not bother us. Talk is talk. We have got to walk the talk out there on the cricket field. He can say all he wants, we are not bothered by it,” he stressed.

Faulkner’s particular target was Chris Gayle with whom he had a run-in last year in Canberra. The big-hitting Jamaican has been uncharacteristically slow in this tournament and his struggles while running between the wickets, which shouldn’t come as a surprise for the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fans, has been more of a hobble.  
“As far as I know, Chris doesn't intend to miss any of the matches in this World Cup,” Sammy said if Gayle was fit to play as the left-hander didn’t take part in team’s practice on Wednesday. “I don't think any cricketer can ever be perfect on a cricket field. They always have some niggle... Groin, finger or hamstring... Nobody is ever perfect. So he is fit to play.”

The last time the two teams met in a World T20 match, in the semifinals of the last edition, West Indies, after raising a mammoth 205/4, had defeated Australia by 74 runs. “I think the last time we played them in a World Cup, we all know what happened,” pointed out Sammy after his team’s practice session on Friday. “If anybody should be talking probably we should do... But I don’t want to say that. We are not threatened by him. So far in this tournament we have not played to our full potential. Once we do that, we will be very destructive. We were destructive in that semifinal last World Cup,” he warned.

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