Preview: Bangladesh look to spin to upset Windies

Bangladesh would bank on their battery of spinners to stifle West Indies at Mirpur

 

By Jamie Alter

 

Mirpur: Mar 4, 2011

 

The last time these two teams played, a three-wicket win in St Kitts gave Bangladesh a 3-0 series whitewash over a depleted West Indian outfit. Over a year and a half later, Bangladesh go up against a much stronger West Indies side but with the same belief – that they can put one over their rivals in their own backyard.

 

After Kevin O’Brien’s awesome innings against England, there’s a new buzz about this World Cup and undoubtedly weaker teams will now take the field with a spring in their step.

 

West Indies bounced back from defeat to South Africa by crushing Netherlands. That win was set up by their big players – Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Ramnaresh Sarwan – and finished in emphatic style by the one fast bowler in the team, Kemar Roach.

 

If Roach can summon the speed and accuracy which he did at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Bangladesh’s batsmen will have to be on guard. The hosts are too reliant on their top order and a wobble against Roach would set them on the back foot.

 

Gayle paced his innings of 80 watchfully, and may find himself needing to do the same against Bangladesh and their phalanx of spinners. Mirpur can be a testing cauldron for touring sides – just as Ireland – and keeping a cool head in such a big match will be necessary.

 

Should Gayle again hold up the innings and Pollard walk out at No. 6 and go hammer and tongs, West Indies will have a big total to defend.

 

Bangladesh’s win over Ireland has given them much satisfaction, and to see them do a lap of victory after that game was starkly indicative of how thankful they were to a boisterous full house which undoubtedly played a part in overwhelming Ireland.

 

Their batting is still shaky, and the likes of Junaid Siddique, Raqibul Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim need to contribute. Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful both played ambitious shots in the last game and will be out to atone. As always, the spinners will be relied upon to take the wickets.

 

Both teams are level on two points, but West Indies’ Net Run Rate is favourable. Bangladesh have some catching up to do, and their best bet is to bat first, put up a good score, and then choke West Indies with their battery of spin.

 

They know a thing or two about doing that, and with the Mirpur faithful filling the role of 12th man exuberantly, West Indies could be in for a stern test. It’s been more than eight years since West Indies played in Bangladesh and things have certainly changed in Dhaka.

 

Teams

 

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

 

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

 

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Steve Davis (Australia).

 

 

Time: 14.30 local (09.00 GMT)

 

 

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now)

 

 

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