West Indies vs Bangladesh, Match 23 Preview

0
82

Big Picture

Four matches, a tournament that starts with an uplifting win, one narrow defeat, one big loss to England and one match washed out by rain – when Bangladesh and West Indies meet at Taunton it’ll be a movie-like reunion of lost twins. Both teams began with impressive victories against South Africa and Pakistan respectively. Both then lost, against New Zealand and Australia respectively, having had their chances to actually win those games. The no-result due to rain would have hurt both: Bangladesh would have fancied their chances against Sri Lanka, while West Indies already had South Africa’s brittle batting in trouble.

What it all adds up to, is both teams facing a near-must-win in this game. Both teams have reached the midway point of their World Cup league stage with potentially a slightly easier second-half compared to some. Both have also been served wake-up calls by England, and might want to adjust their game-plans accordingly.

Bangladesh will want to tighten up the bowling, which was carted around freely by the most power-packed batting line-up in the competition, while West Indies will have to allow for a recalibration of ‘T20 methods will work fine in ODIs’ style when the situation demands.

Form guide

Bangladesh WWWLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies LLWLL

In the spotlight

West Indies came into this World Cup as everyone’s dark horses for the incredible firepower they hold, in batting and bowling, but one creaking knee could put that all out of joint. Andre Russell is so central to their team balance that it’s a wonder they haven’t insured his knees. He can still crank up 140-plus kph when bowling and his batting, of course, can hit levels unseen. But almost every game, he has limped, trod gingerly, and looked like duct tape is all that’s holding him together. Can he hold his body together? He didn’t train on match eve, so that’s not looking too positive, though Jason Holder emphasised that a call on Russell would be taken only on match morning.

Almost silently, Shakib Al Hasan has been on the fast-track to be on a Player-of-the-Tournament shortlist. He’s made 75, 64 and 121 while batting, and he had good figures with the ball against South Africa and New Zealand. The promotion to No.3 while batting has worked out wonderfully and Shakib will once again be central to Bangladesh’s performance.

Team news

Bangladesh will likely stick with the XI that played against England. They might be tempted to give Rubel Hossain a go, but it’s difficult to see whom he’d replace, with Mohammad Saifuddin having been impressive in the outings he’s had.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 11 Mustafizur Rahman

West Indies opted to go without Ashley Nurse against England, choosing an all-pace attack. They have the incentive of the short-ball tactic likely to bear more fruit against Bangladesh than it did against England. One option could be to leave Carlos Brathwaite out. He’s batting low and doesn’t have that much opportunity to make an impact, and he’s not amongst the first few bowlers Jason Holder turns to. But if Russell pulls up unfit, then Brathwaite becomes more important in the XI. West Indies might also ponder bringing back Darren Bravo in place of the mis-firing Evin Lewis.

West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Shai Hope (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Jason Holder (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Carlos Brathwaite, 9 Sheldon Cottrell, 10 Oshane Thomas, 11 Shannon Gabriel

Pitch and conditions

The pitch has a healthy tinge of green on it. There were spots of rain on match eve, but nothing to cause serious concern. The forecast looks promising, rain-wise, for match-day. It’s not going to be too sunny though, with the only ‘periods of sun’ expected.

Pacers have had a better time of it at Taunton than spinners, though it’s not proved to be batting unfriendly. Australia made 300-plus against Pakistan after looking good for possibly 350 at one stage, and Pakistan threatened to chase it down before falling short.

Strategy punt

  • Evin Lewis hasn’t been in the best form lately, with only 72 runs in his last six innings at a strike rate of 55.81. West Indies could consider replacing him with Darren Bravo. Now Bravo hasn’t been in great touch himself, but instead of his usual top order slot, West Indies should play him in the middle order. Batting at No.5 or below, Bravo averages 47.4 at a strike rate of 90. This will also keep Shai Hope as an opener, where he can provide the fulcrum that West Indies need one of their batsmen to be.
  • Soumya Sarkar hasn’t had the best time batting in England historically – he averages only 14.7 – but he’s begun this World Cup brightly, and he’s been terrific against West Indies. He needs to both continue turning his record in England around, and keep up his form against West Indies, because how Bangladesh’s opening combine fares has a telling effect on their fortunes. In ODIs since 2018, everytime Soumya and Tamim Iqbal have put on at least a half-century stand, Bangladesh have won the match. Every time they haven’t, Bangladesh have lost.

Stats and trivia

  • Bangladesh have never beaten West Indies in a World Cup match. They’ve lost in 1999, 2007 and 2011.
  • Shakib Al Hasan needs 23 runs to get to 6,000 in ODIs.
  • Shimron Hetmyer needs 34 runs to get to 1,000 in ODIs.

Quotes

“If you want to put us in the underdog category, fair enough.”
Jason Holder is perfectly fine if West Indies aren’t considered the favourites due to the two teams’ recent head-to-head records.

“Both teams have got the same points. But I think it’s time to think about ourselves only.”
Mashrafe Mortaza is not being selfish, he’s just asking his team to focus on their own game-plans instead of worrying about the opposition.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here