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Windies plan to spoil party

Darren Sammy's West Indies are out to spoil Sri Lanka's ICC World Twenty20 party today and to bring delight to their success-starved supporters across the Caribbean.

Sammy knows how much an overdue victory in an ICC tournament would mean, not just to his team but to the Windies' long-suffering followers.

A country that once dominated the world has recorded only one major success since 1979, in the Champions Trophy in England eight years ago.

Sammy's men stormed into today's final at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo with a 74-run win over Australia at the same venue on Friday, achieved thanks to 14 sixes, almost half of them from destructive opener Chris Gayle.

The host nation will come to a standstill in the hope Mahela Jayawardene's team can deliver a second world title, but Sammy said: "We'll definitely be looking to spoil that party. Sri Lanka are undefeated, but we're peaking at the right time, we want to have our own party. The Caribbean people love a party, so we'll enjoy partying with them."

While few have doubted the Windies' big-hitting potential in this format, many suspect they may lack the consistency needed to prevail. However, Sammy said: "We left home on a mission, and it's just one more hurdle to jump now. We needed our A game to beat Australia, and we will probably need it to be A-plus to beat Sri Lanka, but we believe we can do that.

"It will be massive. The fans are craving a bit of success. That's the goal we left the Caribbean with. We've been saying it in the dressing room: it's one team, one people, one nation.

"When we do well, the people in the Caribbean are very happy. Work stopped for a few hours back at home when we were playing our semi-final.

"Victory would mean everything to us. I've only been playing cricket for a few years, but the fans have been supporting for a lot longer. It's all about them tomorrow: they're the ones who come and watch us play, wake up early in the morning and stay up late at night to do that."

For Jayawardene, it is a fourth world final – two in each limited-overs format – but he knows this one, on home ground, is the most high-profile.

"Absolutely, this is the biggest match ever staged in Sri Lanka," he said. "It's unfortunate the capacity of the stadium is only 35,000, but it's great that there is all this enthusiasm.

"I know the people who are at the final will have a great time, but the rest of the fans will find a way of supporting us. I know their thoughts and prayers will be with the team, and I really appreciate that."

David Clough

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