Winning a close-run, low-scoring game against South Africa on a difficult Nagpur pitch has shown West Indies that they can handle pressure, Marlon Samuels has said. Samuels, whose 44-ball 43 helped steer West Indies to a three-wicket win that sealed a semi-final spot for them, said the experience would stand them in good stead if they are to come up against a similar scenario in the knockouts.
“On a day like today, on a slow track, it was always going to be a nail-biter, a close game,” Samuels said. “It’s very good that we can keep our nerve and bring it home because we might end up in the same situation again, so it’s good that we can carry home games under pressure as well.”
Samuels, who began the tournament with a boundary-laden 27-ball 37 against England, was forced to adopt a more conservative approach against South Africa.
“If you see the first game against England, we got a good start, so I could always go there and express myself and play my shots and play the game that I like to play,” he said. “Today, the wicket was on the slower side, [and we had lost] early wickets, so it called for me to change my game, to try and bat right down to the end.”
Samuels said he had a dual role to play in a batting line-up full of power-hitters.
“This batting line-up, I have two roles. One where, when the openers get a good start, I go there and express myself, and [if we] get a slow start, early wickets, I’ll go there and try to build up an innings with whichever partner that is there, and try to build something and [take] the game as far as possible.”
Samuels has been one of West Indies’ form batsmen at the World T20, and though it is an entirely different format, he welcomed the runs after a wretched Test series in Australia that brought him 35 runs at 7.00.
“Not going to be overconfident, but this is the part of the game which I think is the most beautiful part of the game,” Samuels said. “It makes you bring out how tough you are as a person, because you’re going to have failures, but what matters the most is how you come back.”
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.