COLOMBO (Reuters) - West Indies opener Chris Gayle’s power-hitting can make all the difference in Friday’s second semi-final of the World Twenty20 and dismissing him early would be half the battle, believes Australia captain George Bailey.
Gayle lies seventh in the tournament’s top-scorers’ list with 144 runs from five matches but his 158-plus strike rate is second only to Brendon McCullum in the top 10 chart.
Not surprisingly, the 33-year-old flamboyant Jamaican who can clear boundary almost at will featured prominently in Bailey’s pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“Absolutely, we will focus on getting him out,” said Bailey, leading a team which also contains some of the big-hitters of the game.
“If he has an outstanding game, it’s going to be very difficult for us to win the game. That’s the type of player he is,” he said.
“But we also know that we can combat that with Shane Watson and David Warner and Mike Hussey, Cameron White...” Bailey said.
The Tasmanian also sounded wary of West Indies’ spin attack, led by off-spinner Sunil Narine whose guile and control have made him quite a handful.
“They have a quality spinner in Narine and certainly not be underestimated. I think (Samuel) Badree has had some good success at the top bowling some leg-spin as well,” Bailey said.
Talking about his own team, Bailey said Australia were considering drafting in Twenty20 specialist David Hussey, a move that might come at Glenn Maxwell’s expense.
“Still weighing that up,” Bailey said.
“I guess that’s probably the only possibility for a change.”
“We’ve got absolute confidence in the middle order that we have. They can score enough runs to get a total that we can defend or we can chase down any total that the West Indies set.”
Australia’s both super eight stage victories came while chasing but Bailey said he would not mind batting first on Friday either.
”West Indies’ strength is really in their batting. We are very confident that we can chase down anything that they can set and we also feel we can put a score on the board that will be very difficult for them to get.
“We were enjoying chasing...But it is nice to perhaps set runs on the board,” he added. (Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)