The West Indies cricket team could salvage a horrid tour of Bangladesh with a series win in the T20Is as they approach the second of the three-match series today, at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, leading 1-0.
Over the past month the Caribbean side has only mustered one win in the three-match limited overs series (50 overs) .
Howver the move to the T20Is, a format they are more comfortable with, saw them crushing the hosts by eight wickets in 10.5 overs.
West Indies, two-time International Cricket Council World Champions in the shortest format, will be brewing with confidence on the back of a golden run from Shai Hope.
Added to that the news that the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction Tuesday saw their captain, Carlos Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Nicholas Pooran and Oshane Thomas bagging lucrative contracts could result in a pep in their step today.
Despite the absence of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and company, who are all in the IPL, the West Indies’ line up is still imposing with the young bloods taking centre stage.
While not in an IPL team, Hope has proved that he is more than capable, scoring consecutive centuries in the 50 overs series followed by 55 in the first T20I. Like Hope, Hetmyer has been brutal since bursting on the scene.
In this format, he bats at a strike rate of over 148, showing his skill set in the Caribbean Premier League where he ended as the leading run getter for the Guyana Amazon Warriors with a century and two fifties. Also in the fold is another pair of young destructive batsmen in the form of Pooran, who strikes at 156 and Rutherford.
Though he is yet to make his debut, Rutherford can turn games around in a matter of a few balls.
Their linchpin, captain Brathwaite is the bridge between the batsmen and the bowlers although he hasn’t actually taken the game by the scruff of its neck since hitting four consecutive sixes in the final of their last World T20 victory.
The utility players pack a punch down the order with the likes Rovman Powell and the anchor in Darren Bravo.
As it regards bowlers, Oshane Thomas has stirred a buzz with his express pace. With the ability to get speeds up to 147 kph, Thomas, along with his left handed countryman, Sheldon Cottrell, are the imposing bowling spearheads along with Paul who has shown promise with bat and ball.
In spite of the Caribbean side not winning a T20 series for the year, winning just two of their dozen matches, their chances are higher than ever and can find salvation having lost 3-0 to this very side when they visited the Caribbean.
But it will be no walk in the park with Bangladesh desperate to keep the series alive.
The number one all-rounder in the side leading from the front, Shakib Al Hassan, has shown his talent once again, getting 61 in the first match. However, the Bangladesh skipper will want more from his batsmen since Mahmudullah and Ariful Hague are the only two to reach double figures. Al Hasan has found himself in trouble after fined 15 percent of his match fee for breaching Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to ‘showing dissent at an umpire’s decision’.
Tamim Iqbal and Linton Das will want to get their side off to a blitz if they are to chase a big total or post a respectable score to give their bowlers a chance.
During a pre-match meet, Bangladesh’s Soumya Sarkar said the team was not worried about the pacers and their short balls.
“I don’t think there is anything to worry about. They bowled short and we tried to hit them. It is a matter of courage. If we had gone on the back foot and were dismissed, then you could have said that there was some fear factor involved…It’s a matter of courage. I have been able to see a lot of the short ball. When we were out that way, we were told that we were out of fear of the short ball. I got out to play in front. We went out to beat the ball more loudly. If we were trying to play in the game, then I would have been good at playing the timing.”
The left handed batsman added that it is important that they do not repeat their mistakes from the opening match and would need to make a strong comeback.
“Everyone knows they are the World Champions, in this version. We did not do that bad either. I try to keep up with them and play a good game. Maybe there was a mistake. We had a lack of intelligence maybe we started to attack them at the beginning. If I used to play the game of intelligence, if we could handle the first few overs of the pacers, we would have been able to give more to the end. Maybe there was no wicket, because the wickets quickly fell, there was a slow pace to move at a slow pace. That will be tried in the next match. If we are in the top order, they can use the power plate well, keep wickets, it will be good at the end,” Sarkar said.
Bangladesh – Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nazmul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Hider and Ariful Haque.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Kesrick Williams, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Shai Hope, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas