Cricket World Cup 2011

Preview: Bangladesh vs Windies

2011-03-04 10:25
Bangladesh's skipper Shakib-al-Hasan. (AFP)

Mirpur - Both the West Indies and Bangladesh are desperate to secure a quarter-final berth, and it's unlikely that both will be able to, making this encounter a must win for the team that wants that spot most.

(Dhaka) Mirpur, Shere Bangla National Stadium

Bangladesh and the West Indies know a place in the quarter-finals is there for the taking, especially in light of England's struggles to impose themselves on the tournament. But with Ireland on the march after their epic triumph on Wednesday night, there's suddenly a sixth competitor waiting to pounce on the next team to blink.

Bangladesh enter this contest on a tide of popular acclaim. The manner in which they overcame the Irish in Mirpur last week has reinforced the belief that in their favoured home conditions, with a quartet of canny spinners to take advantage of their slow, low surfaces, they are quite capable of holding their own against teams with superior credentials - let alone a team such as West Indies who are below them in the world rankings.

That Ireland were able to saunter past 327 against England in Bangalore, yet flounder in pursuit of 206 in Bangladesh, will serve as a warning to West Indies' power-hitters. Unless someone does a Sehwag - and no prizes for guessing the likeliest candidates - this one could be another war of attrition.

That's not to say that West Indies do not have the skill or patience to overcome the conditions. Chris Gayle's diligent 110-ball 80 against the Netherlands was an atypical performance from such an explosive player, but it mirrored almost perfectly Tamim Iqbal's 86-ball 70 in Bangladesh's opening defeat against India. It's almost as though the two men had primed themselves for a controlled explosion at a later date, and just as Tamim's 44 made the difference against Ireland, the winner of their head-to-head tussle could well propel the destiny of the match.

Realistically, this one is too close to call. Both teams have begun with a win and a loss apiece, but if West Indies' dispatching of the Netherlands was eye-catchingly comprehensive, with Kemar Roach's hat-trick setting the seal on an excellent day's work, Bangladesh's self-belief in their out-muscling of Ireland was no less impressive. Strength in adversity has rarely been Bangladesh's strong-point, but right from the moment Mohammad Ashraful reduced the Irish to 75 for 3 in the 19th over, their body language was that of a team that knew it would win. In a tussle between two teams ranked eighth and ninth in the world, such displays of belief will be critical.

Form guide
Bangladesh WLWWW
West Indies WLLLL

Watch out for

Bangladesh's captain, Shakib Al Hasan, is a combative cricketer and a top-notch left-arm spinner. With his unwavering accuracy and subtle variations in flight and bite, he is capable of rattling through his overs almost before a batsman has a chance to react, and no-one in the Bangladesh team is better equipped to turn the screw if West Indies allow themselves to lose momentum in the middle overs. With the bat he has looked in form without kicking on to a big one. There's no time like the present to restate his credentials as the world's leading allrounder in ODI cricket.

It's hard to look beyond Chris Gayle for West Indian inspiration in this fixture. As Virender Sehwag showed for India in the tournament opener, massive totals are possible at Mirpur if a batsman is willing to put his weight through every shot. His darting offspin might be of equal value, however. He rarely looks as though he's trying with the ball, as he plods in off two paces and spears each delivery straight into the blockhole. But the slower they arrive, the slower they tend to be dispatched in Bangladesh.

Team news

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Raqibul Hasan, Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Ashraful, Naeem Islam, Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain.

West Indies: Chris Gayle, Devon Smith, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kieron Pollard, Devon Thomas (wk), Darren Sammy (capt), Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Kemar Roach.

Pitch and conditions

The word in town is that a more helpful spinning wicket has been prepared for this fixture, but the likelihood is another shock-absorber of a surface. The weather conditions are not a problem, and it's much warmer than during the Ireland fixture, so dew should be even less of a factor under the lights.

Stats and trivia

Bangladesh have not faced West Indies in 50-over cricket since their tour of the Caribbean in July 2009, in which they achieved a clean sweep in the three-match series, and also triumphed in the Test series, against a team stricken by industrial action.

Bangladesh could have as many as nine survivors from that final ODI, at Basseterre. West Indies can still call upon the services of five players, including the captain Darren Sammy, and the paceman Kemar Roach.

Chris Gayle needs one run to reach 8000 in ODIs.


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