PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,CMC — West Indies will be seeking to rediscover their once lethal batting prowess, as they go in search of an all-important series-levelling victory in the second Twenty20 International of the four-match series here today.
The Caribbean side, who easily chased down an imposing 193 to reach the T20 World Cup final almost a year ago, have in recent times because almost unrecognizable and have looked a shadow of the unit that won the title in that tournament with awesome power-hitting, in a dramatic last over.
Gone is the bluster, the brawn and the swagger that have come to characterise West Indies T20 teams, replaced now with timidity and uncertainty, reflected in scores of 115, 144, 103 and 111 in their last four outings.
In last Sunday’s opener at Kensington Oval in Barbados, the Windies slumped from 35 for one to strife at 49 for six in the 11th over after being asked to bat, a scenario captain Carlos Brathwaite said yesterday needed to be rectified.
“[Against] Pakistan [last year] we found ourselves 20 for three and 20 for four at the end of the first six [overs],” he told reporters here ahead of the contest at Queen’s Park Oval.
“We’ve progressed to [being] 34 for one [in the last game] which we were happy with at the end of the six [overs] and now it’s just a matter of understanding what we did well in the first six, replicating that but then taking it a step further and progressing between [overs] six and 14 as well, which has always been a problem area for West Indies but one which we are addressing.
“We are doing it in stages. Again, we’ve conquered the first six in our opinion and it’s just a matter of getting six to 14 right. If we can have the first six, the last six and then be a lot better between six and 14, we are sure we can put up 150-plus and that would give us a better fighting chance when we go to bowl.”
West Indies were dominated by Pakistan last September, crashing to a 3-0 whitewash in the United Arab Emirates, but had banked on reversing the trend on home soil.
Instead the poor results have continued on the current tour and not even the presence of the world-rated spin twin of Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, could prevent Pakistan taking a 1-0 lead in the series with a six-wicket win. “I don’t think we put enough runs on the board and as a result of that, Pakistan’s batsmen were able to play [without pressure],” Brathwaite said in reference to Sunday’s opening loss. “We played into their hands basically where they could’ve nudged the ones and the twos and not be under pressure to score and play the power shots. I think that negatively affected Badree and Sunil’s game plans which as we all know, they are a lot more difficult to score boundaries off of than just rotating [strike].
“So once the batters can put a decent total on the board of 150 upwards, they will come into their own even more with batsmen having to be more attacking towards them.”
All eyes will be on 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan who was sensational on debut, grabbing four wickets in four overs which cost a mere seven runs. Brathwaite said West Indies had formulated their plans on how to combat the young bowler, and were looking towards an improved performance.
The remaining games in the series will be played on Saturday and Sunday here.
WEST INDIES — Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Samuel Badree, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.
PAKISTAN — Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmad Shahzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Nawaz , Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir , Wahab Riaz, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan Shinwari.