Defending champions battle for survival against struggling Bangladesh

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28 Oct 2021 | 12:33 PM
authorShweta Haranhalli

Defending champions battle for survival against struggling Bangladesh

After two defeats, West Indies will be up against Bangladesh, aiming to get their campaign back on track

Reigning champions West Indies find themselves in disarray after losing their first two games of the Super 12s. The Men in Maroon now face an uphill task of surviving in the Group of Death and will need nothing less than a miracle to progress to the semi-finals of the mega event. 

While they boast of a plethora of stars in the line-up, the team has failed to live up to all the hype in this edition with dismal batting performance in the first match against England. The hopes of a turnaround were dashed as Lendl Simmons struggled with his timing and endured a horrific run against South Africa. 

On the other hand, Bangladesh have been riddled with the inconsistency of their batting unit. One of the most experienced players in the batting department, Liton Das, would want to erase 2021 from his memory as he averages 10.8, which is the second-lowest among players of Test-playing nations. 

West Indies and Bangladesh are currently languishing at the bottom of the points table, and there is plenty to ponder for the two sides heading into tomorrow's must-win encounter at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. 

Windies need to solve the batting conundrum 

Over the past few years, batting inconsistency has been West Indies' Achilles' heel. On Tuesday, it was painful to see the dire state as Lendl Simmons crawled his way to 16 off 35 deliveries. 

Windies can opt for Roston Chase in the playing XI, who despite being uncapped in T20Is, was the leading run-scorer for St. Lucia Kings in the Caribbean Premier League 2021, with 446 runs in 12 innings at an average of 49.6 and a strike rate of 144. Another critical aspect of his game is his off-spin which can be impactful against Bangladesh who have plenty of left-handers. With Sharjah known to be conducive for spinners, Chase can be a handy inclusion to the side in the middle overs.

In the absence of Simmons at the top of the order, Windies can use the services of Chris Gayle to partner Evin Lewis. The duo have opened the batting four times in this form of the game and notched up three 70-plus partnerships at a strike rate of 160, guiding them to wins in all three encounters. 

Nicholas Pooran's dismal season is hurting West Indies 

While the focus has been on the top-order and Simmons in particular in the two matches, another player who needs to help the West Indies in the middle overs is Nicholas Pooran. In the recently concluded Indian Premier League, Pooran scored 85 runs in 11 innings at an average of 7.73, the lowest among players with a minimum of 50 runs. 

The southpaw also has struggled against left-arm spinners and off-spinners as he averages 4.5 and 11 against those bowling types. With Shakib Al Hasan, Nasum Ahmed and Mahedi Hasan in the opposition bowling unit, Pooran will face plenty of challenges in the middle overs on a sluggish Sharjah wicket. 

Have the batters decoded the variations of Mustafizur?

Well, believe it or not, Mustafizur has not dismissed a left-handed batter in this edition of the tournament. After a promising start in the competition, the left-arm pacer has gone wicketless in the last three games and conceded runs at an economy rate of over 7.3. The batting unit of the Windies have plenty of left-handed batters at the top and in the middle order, which will be a cause of concern for Mustafizur and the Tigers.

Lack of impetus from the middle order of the Tigers 

In this much-awaited clash, the onus of the batting unit will rely heavily on the shoulders of their two experienced players, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah. While the duo recorded quickfire half-centuries earlier in the tournament, they have been inconsistent with their form and have not scored freely in the middle overs.

Out of the top six batters in the history of the World Cup, Mushfiqur has a strike rate of 109, the second-lowest among players with a minimum of 300 runs. The skipper has failed to get going in the 2021 season and has a strike rate of 109 in 20 innings, the lowest for him across seasons. Bangladesh will need to do something special to stage a comeback in this tournament and will need their experienced campaigners to lead the way forward. 

Probable XIs:

West Indies: Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Lendl Simmons/ Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Akeil Hossain, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Holder

Bangladesh: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah (c), Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam

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West Indies vs BangladeshICC World Twenty20, 2021West IndiesBangladeshChris GayleLendl SimmonsRoston ChaseShakib Al HasanNasum AhmedMahedi HasanNicholas Pooran

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