Williams says Windies calm as clash with South Africa looms

SYDNEY, Australia– Having defeated Zimbabwe in record-breaking fashion on Tuesday in Canberra, West Indies arrived in Sydney on Wednesday – full of confidence ahead of the clash against South Africa.

The performance over the Zimbabweans gave West Indis their second win in a row and moved them to second place in Pool B. Chris Gayle led the way with 215 off 147 balls – the biggest innings and best innings in the 40-year history of the Cricket World Cup.

Gayle added a world record 372 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels, who made a career-best 133 not out, as the two-time World Cup winners won by 73 runs. The bowling attacked was led by Jerome Taylor who took three wickets to move to nine wickets for the tournament – the second most so far.

West Indies coach Stuart Williams said the team was in good spirits ahead of the South Africa match, slated for the historic Sydney Cricket Ground. First ball on Friday is 2:30pm (11:30pm Thursday Eastern Caribbean Time/10:30pm Thursday Jamaica Time).

Williams spoke to WICB Media on Wednesday as the Windies prepared for the match. Please see quotes below:

On Chris Gayle’s record performance
I’m just happy I witnessed it. I played with him back in the day and now I’m happy to be around him as coach and see some of his amazing performances. It was just brilliant to watch and as one of the commentators said ‘when Gayle gets going the fielders are spectators and the spectators are fielders’. Making 200 in a One-Day game is not an easy feat and you know with his longstanding injuries, you have to give him full respect…it was pleasing to see the wat he played. We have scored over 300 runs in every match so far, so we know we have the ability to score well and score quickly.

On Marlon Samuels’ performance
It was an excellent partnership with Marlon and Chris. You can’t forget Marlon, he played a major part as well and got his highest score. When Bravo went down with injury in the last game, we asked him (Samuels) to move up to Number 3 for this match – he’d been doing wel at Number 4 for a while now – with two centuires in India and a Test hundred in South Africa. But he stepped up here and put his hand up for the team – he actually said he wanted to do it and volunteered.

On Jerome Taylor leading the team’s bowling attack
After the Ireland match when we scored over 300 runs and lost, there were questions asked by the public about our bowling attack, but we never lost faith in our bowlers. I was not really worried too much because I knew we had the bowlers to do the job. Bowling is not easy in ODIs, it’s a tough job, and I have been really impressed with Jerome Taylor, who has put his hand up. He is bowling really well and now the secone highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

On facing South Africa at the SCG
The seris against South Africa (in South Africa) was about learning about our game and where we need to be. Now it’s not a series, it’s just a one-off game in the World Cup – the biggest stage in the world. So it’s a different mind-set, and we’re prepared to face them oin Friday. The guys have been supporting each other, they have been working hard, they have been responding to my coaching and we are confident.