MUMBAI—Lendl Simmons believes India’s lack of genuine pace bowlers helped him guide West Indies to a seven-wicket victory in the semifinal of the World Twenty20 yesterday. Simmons smashed an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls and featured in two strong partnerships with opener Johnson Charles (52) and Andre Russell (43 not out) as West Indies raced to 196-3 after India had scored 192-2.
“The (Indian) bowling was suspect, they had (Ashish) Nehra and (Jasprit) Bumrah, the two fast bowlers but not express pace,” Simmons said. West Indies cautiously played out experienced Nehra (1-24) but smacked the two other young fast bowlers Hardik Pandya (0-43) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-42) to fashion out victory.
Simmons only flew into Mumbai on Tuesday after Andre Fletcher pulled a hamstring during West Indies’ last group match against Afghanistan and was ruled out of the tournament.
“Before the game I felt a bit of pressure on myself, but it was good we had a target to chase and we got there,” Simmons said.
“When I entered to bat I had a clear mind what I wanted to do because we already had a plan to chase the target.”
Simmons said his two-year experience of playing for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League was key in helping him to marshal the run-chase during which he decimated the Indian bowlers with his exquisite drives, pulls and cuts.
“Obviously it (IPL) has made me a better player, after playing IPL on these pitches you adjust to different strokes,” he said.
“I was due to come to Mumbai on Friday and get ready for the IPL as well, see this is my home ground and I think I read it well,” he said.
Simmons set up the run-chase despite West Indies losing its swashbuckling opener Chris Gayle in only the second over. He added 97 runs with Charles and then a quickfire 80 off just 39 balls with Russell to see his side through to Sunday’s final against England at Kolkata. But Simmons was lucky when he was twice caught off no-balls on 18 and then on 50 to the disappointment of the home supporters.
“Today was my day,” he said. “Every cricketer has a day, today I had luck on my side and things went the way we wanted it.” Simmons cautioned West Indies not to take England lightly, which defeated New Zealand in the semifinal after the Kiwis came to the last-four stage on the back of four successive victories in group matches.
“We shouldn’t be over confident,” he said. “We have to go to Kolkata and analyze the situation of the game when that comes.
“Conditions will be different I am sure. It won’t be a perfect batting track like the wicket today after watching the previous games back home.”