Smith praises dominant West Indies A
Kingstown, St Vincent - West Indies A Twenty20 captain, Dwayne Smith, has admitted that he thought the Sri Lanka A team would have showed more mettle in the 2nd and final Twenty20 of the two match series.
West Indies strolled to a comfortable five-wicket victory with more than eight overs to spare at an overcast Arnos Vale.
Having bowled out for the Sri Lankans for a meagre score of 81 in 18.5 overs, Lendl Simmons charged West Indies to victory with cameo knocks by Smith himself and Andre Russell along the way.
Though the victory left Smith please, he felt Sri Lanka didn't play as well as they could have. He said after the game, "I really thought they would have given us a better fight but having said that our boys bowled well and we also fielded well so it was good."
Sri Lanka A's batting fell away at regular intervals with 11 runs being the highest score of the innings, scored by Madura Lakmal. Three other batsmen got to 10. The West Indies A bowlers kept very tight lines and lengths, restricting the Sri Lankans to just five 4s and two 6s during their innings. It might sound a lot, but Lendl Simmons alone for West Indies A hit three 4s and five 6s.
For the second time in two days, Smith had won the toss and elected to field. A day earlier, only three balls from Samuel Badree were delivered before rain forced an abandonment. It was the same overcast skies that had prompted Smith to field 24 hours earlier that also triggered his decision on Wednesday.
He explained, "Our plan was to bowl first because of the weather. We didn't know what would have happened if it was rain or anything so at the end you would know what score you have to get and it should be easier to plan for. Some of their players played some careless shots so that helped us but we can't bother with that. That's cricket."
But as easy as Simmons and Smith made batting look, the West Indies A Twenty20 captain thought the pitch at Arnos Vale provided a test for the batsmen. He praised Simmons' knock that anchored the regional side to victory, saying "I think Lendl batted very good, especially on a pitch like that where it was slow and was hard to keep knocking the ball out the park. I got off to a good start too and then I gave it away in the end there but it was good to see, and I was glad 'Simmo' got in the runs again."
It was only last October though that Smith was part of West Indies' World Cup winning ICC World Twenty20 Championship team. Since then, he has continued to play a pivotal roll in keeping the regional side amongst the best in the Twenty20 format, while also being sought after by many domestic clubs around the world, like the Indian Premier League's, Mumbai Indians.
He believes that if the West Indies are to remain a dominant force in World Twenty20 cricket, then matches such as these featuring the West Indies A team will be crucial.
He said, "I think it goes along way [playing local Twenty20 cricket]. Looking at the side that we had today, you could see how strong it is and it was three of the guys from the World Cup side that was in there and you can see that it is a strong side and that we have a set of replacement players for the senior guys so it's good to see that and I hope that they will continue to keep playing all forms of the game right through."
Had the 1st Twenty20 been played on Tuesday, Smith could have seen a two-nil sweep of the series, but he was happy to have won the 2nd Twenty20 match and the series.
As he crosses the Atlantic on Sunday to ply his trade for Sussex County Cricket Club in England in the Friends Life T20 campaign, Smith is hoping this victory would start a momentum that would see the Windies A go on to win the One Day series in the final leg of Sri Lanka A's tour.