There won’t be any favours for the West Indies in their must-win World Cup clash against the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, with UAE skipper Mohammad Tauqir saying they want to knock the former champions out of the tourmament.
The West Indies, the 1975 and 1979 winners, are locked in a three-way battle with Pakistan and Ireland to fill the final two qualifying spots in Pool B behind India and South Africa.
They will sneak into the quarter-finals with a win over the UAE and at the expense of whoever loses the match in Adelaide between Pakistan and Ireland later Sunday.
Although the UAE have yet to register a point, Tauqir said Ireland’s win over the West Indies early in the pool play has given them hope they too can topple the Caribbean side.
“They’re not playing as consistent cricket as they should be, but that’s an opportunity for us,’ he said.
“But we need to do our basics right. We need to bowl well, bat well, field well. We have to play very good cricket to beat them, but I can see that’s possible.
Although the West Indies’ Chris Gayle-led batting line up is capable of feasting off the UAE bowlers, who have been further weakened by the loss of the injured Fahad Al Hashmi, Tauqir feels they are also vulnerable.
“They’ll be under pressure of chasing a run rate, and I think it gives us opportunity to play freely and express ourselves either batting or bowling,” he said.
“West Indies will be under pressure of getting qualified for the knockout stage.”
Although the UAE are definite underdogs, opener Andri Berenger described the atmosphere in their camp as “positive, confident” as they look for an elusive first win.
“We saw Ireland beat the West Indies, it gives us a lot of confidence, and I think we can do that as well,” he said.
“The West Indies team is also a very unpredictable side. They heavily rely on Chris Gayle, so we can see some opportunity playing against them.”
But win or lose against the West Indies, one thing for certain is the UAE side will fly home on Monday at the end of their pool matches in their second World Cup campaign and first since 1996.
Tauqir said they were far from despondent with their lack of success so far.
“We started the tournament well, the two games against Zimbabwe and Ireland. I think we had one bad game against India, but I would say even the games against Pakistan and South Africa were decent performances from our side,” he said.
“Although it has been a long tournament, we were getting a few good breaks between the games. Everybody is fit and looking forward to tomorrow’s game and to end this tournament on a winning note.”