Allrounder Darren Sammy on Wednesday said facing New Zealand was like squaring up to Mike Tyson, but insisted the West Indies would deliver the knock out blow in their World Cup quarter-final.
Sammy delved deep into boxing history to liken Saturday’s clash in Wellington to the 1990 heavyweight bout in Tokyo when underdog Buster Douglas scored a stunning upset win over a previously unbeaten Tyson.
“I remember some guy called Douglas beating Mike Tyson and it’s a case of that on Saturday,” he told reporters, saying the West Indies now have a focus lacking in their patchy pool-match performances.
“I just watched the guys warm up today and it’s a different feel. It’s the business end... the guys know what’s at stake and we’re going to do everything in our powers to beat Mike Tyson.”
The Tyson description is sure to raise a smirk among the mild-mannered New Zealanders, but Sammy was clearly riled at the West Indies being written off after squeaking into the last eight following losses in three of their six pool games.
New Zealand won all six but Sammy said form in group stages meant nothing and harked back the the West Indies’ glory days, when they lifted the trophy in 1975 and 1979.
“We’ve won two, it’s been a long time, but New Zealand has not won any,” he said.
The 31-year old also referenced more recent history, when the West Indies bounced New Zealand out of the World Twenty20 tournament in 2012.
“When it came down to crunch time, we won. Same set of players,” he said.
“This time around it won’t be any different. A full house rooting for New Zealand but we know that once we do the basics, the things we know we can do well, we’re unstoppable.”
He said the pressure was all on New Zealand, whose fans are desperate for World Cup success after six semi-final appearances.
Sammy said there was no doubt explosive batsman Chris Gayle would overcome a back injury to play on Saturday. “Chris is not missing this quarter-final for anybody, he's more pumped up than we are," he said.