Sammy: Our batting must improve

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Chris Gayle

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy believes Chris Gayle, pictured, could have a major impact on their quarter-final clash with Pakistan

West Indies captain Darren Sammy admits his side must end a worrying tendency to collapse if they are to progress to the last four of the World Cup and has backed Chris Gayle as the man to post a major score.

The Windies face Pakistan in the first quarter-final in Dhaka tomorrow, with a frail batting line-up a major concern for Sammy.

His side tossed away winning positions against both England and India after losing wickets in quick succession and Sammy addressed the problem at the pre-match press conference.

"We did lose our way (in the last two games) and we can't keep collapsing like that all the time," said the all-rounder.

“We certainly can't do that in a quarter-final, but I am confident we can put the past behind us and hopefully the West Indies will win. It will be an exciting game.”

Gayle missed the India match with an abdominal problem but is sure to feature alongside in-form paceman Kemar Roach, who has had a stomach infection.

"I liked the way Chris was hitting balls in the nets," said Sammy. "He is very committed to the West Indies cause. Come tomorrow, and I have no doubt both he and Kemar will play.

“Chris is a committed fellow. He will do whatever it takes to put the team in a position to win. Come tomorrow I have no doubts he will do the best thing that’s required for the team.”

Sammy acknowledged his opponents’ good form but is relishing the knockout nature of the match.

"Pakistan have been playing good cricket, especially Shahid Afridi who has led from the front," he said. "But we must focus on what we have to do to execute our plans and win the game.

"This is the quarter-final and everything depends on how we play on the day. It does not matter if you are number one or number eight. If you don't win you are out."

Afridi, meanwhile, was keen to deflect attention from the mouth-watering possibility of a semi-final showdown with rivals India, insisting West Indies were the only thing on his mind.

"Our entire focus is on winning the quarter-final, I am not even thinking of the next match, whether it is India or Australia," Afridi said.

"We will not take the West Indies lightly. Any team is capable of winning on their day, there are no second chances in a knockout match. I think they are a very good side."

Afridi is the top wicket-taker in the competition with 17 scalps and, alongside dependable seamer Umar Gul, represents his side’s biggest threat.

Shoaib Akhtar has announced he will retire once the competition is over, but Pakistan look likely to resist the temptation to recall the veteran to their side, with Wahab Riaz the man in possession.

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