England have a score to settle when they meet West Indies in Guyana after being dumped out of the last World Twenty20 by the Caribbean cricketers.
Gayle: England will turn up 'with blood in their eyes'
England have a score to settle when they meet West Indies tonight in Guyana after being dumped out of the last World Twenty20 by the Caribbean cricketers. They were on the verge of qualifying for a semi-final spot on home soil when a Chris Gayle-inspired West Indies and the rain wrecked their dreams. And Gayle, the West Indies captain, expects England to turn up with "blood in their eyes" when the teams renew their rivalries. He said: "We have a lot of people supporting us in England, so we always want to give them something to smile about - and that encourages us to get job done.
"But it is two good teams and it should be a good match. I'm sure they come out here with blood in their eyes and want to beat us, so we have to make sure they don't get one up on us." England have been earmarked as a team to watch in this tournament after some big gains over the past nine months and a morale-boosting win over South Africa during a warm-up game for the tournament. The success of the England brigade - Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Michael Lumb and Ravi Bopara - in the Indian Premier League has made them the dark horses.
Add Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Craig Kieswetter and Tim Bresnan to the list, and you have a team capable of ending England's wait to add to their trophy cabinet. "We're desperate to win a trophy, we're desperate to do well and we see this as a great opportunity to change things around," Collingwood was quoted as saying by the Stabroek newspaper of Guyana. "We've got into a couple of finals in the past, but never nailed those results down to win a trophy. So we see this as a huge opportunity. The squad are very excited about the next few weeks here and we believe we can do something pretty special here."
Morgan, who impressed in the win over South Africa and could be one of the stars of this tournament, sounded a lot more optimistic than his captain. "I think we have a good chance of winning the tournament," the batsman said. "We have had a good preparation period over the last couple of weeks, and the guys are all confident of making a big impression in the Caribbean. "I am confident that we will be the championship team in this competition."
But England's credentials will be put to the test by a rampant home side, who romped to a 70-run win over Ireland in their opener. Gayle was missing from that game due to a sore body, but should be back to lead the side. "We know England will be a stronger test and we have to steel ourselves for that," Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, said. "We have to stay together and, of course, you will hope that your middle order perform a little better than they did on Friday.
"If we bat a bit more convincingly against England and we can continue to bowl like that then there is a good opportunity for us to first get out of the group with two wins and then move into the next round full of confidence." But the hosts are likely to be minus Sulieman Benn, their beanpole off-spinner, because of a shoulder injury. * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi, with agencies West Indies v England, 9.30pm, on CricOne