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Advantage home for West Indies: Chris Gayle

Port of Spain: West Indies cricket captain Chris Gayle has said that the hosts have a good chance of lifting the World Twenty20 championship at home.

Last year in England, the West Indies made it to the semi-finals before bowing out.

`We had a very good outing in England. In last year`s World T20 we reached the semi-finals and I thought we did very well,` Gayle was quoted as saying by CMC.

`We started that tournament as outsiders and we managed to play some really good cricket and reach the final four. This time around we are at home where we know these conditions better than anyone else so this will be to our advantage,` he said.

West Indies start their campaign against Ireland Friday before taking on England, who they defeated last June to reach the semi-finals.

Gayle, a Jamaican, admitted that home advantage also brings in some pressure. But he said his side was focussed on delivering.

`At the same time that comes with pressure, the expectations from our supporters will be very high. We hope the fans will turn out and support us and we promise them some good performances,` he said.

Gayle, who plays for Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL), believed the Twenty20 league in India has helped his team mates to get ready for the World Twenty20.

`Preparation has been good for the West Indies players. A few of us, including Pollard and Bravo, were involved in the IPL in India while the others were playing in the Jamaica Cricket Festival. We also had the chance to play Ireland, who we play in our first game, a few times in Jamaica so I would say preparation has been good,` he said.

Gayle, however, feels that given the unpredictable nature of the game it is important to get the team selection right.

`Twenty20 cricket is always a challenge since it is never an easy road and very competitive. Any team can win any game because it is so short. Getting our balance right is our priority since we have a very good all-round side,` he said.

IANS

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