Two-time champions West Indies began the 2019 ICC World Cup with a bang, decimating Pakistan by seven wickets on May 31. But ever since, the Caribbean side have fizzled, showing little or no intent in their last defeat to England on Friday.
With a desperate need to kick off once again if they are to secure a spot in the top-four, West Indies come up against a hurting Bangladesh side at Taunton on Monday.
Coming into the tournament with a reasonable pace battery, West Indies dished out some sweet chin music to Pakistan and then dented Australia’s top order before losing imagination thereafter.
Bangladesh’s journey so far has been quite similar with the Tigers posting a fantastic 21-run victory over South Africa at the Oval on June 2. Thereafter, they narrowly missed went down to New Zealand by two wickets, something that seemed to break their spine.
Bangladesh have never beaten West Indies in an ICC tournament but Mashrafe Mortaza’s men have been prolific against the Windies since 2016 with their most recent victory coming in the tri-series final in Ireland.
While boundaries may not play as big a role in One-Day Internationals (ODI) as compared to T20s, with scores of 300 the par in the 50-over format in recent times, fours and sixes become an enviable virtue.
Both teams have had contrasting fortunes when it comes to finding the fence with West Indies using big hitters to full effect, while Bangladesh take a more sober approach.
Bangladesh’s struggles stem from the fact that linchpins Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim have a boundary percentage of under 50, while the openers – Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar – are yet to make an impact.
A rejuvenated Chris Gayle has been West Indies’ go to man, hitting a purple patch from the start of the year. Another man who has been dependable for Jason Holder’s men has been Shai Hope.
Starting out as a Test batsman, Hope has adapted beautifully to limited over format with an average of 49.7 in 57 outings. Evin Lewis’ struggles in the last two games could prompt a shuffle in the batting order.
Hope has a phenomenal average of 107.4 when he opens the batting and moves along at a brisk pace, striking a boundary every ten balls. This could be just the sort of partner Gayle needs to offer some stability and reducing workload on the Jamaican.
Another interesting fact is that in the 10 innings that Hope has opened, he’s never been dismissed for a duck and has scored four centuries.
Bangladesh off spinner Mehidy Hasan has been enjoying a good run this World Cup with five scalps from three games and his contribution in the early stages could be vital to the overall result.
Since 2018, Mehidy’s record against left-handed batsmen has been solid and considering the Windies are stacked with left-handers, the off spinner will be eyeing the prospect of boosting his wicket tally.
Another weapon Bangladesh possess comes in the form of Mustafizur Rahman. The left-arm pacer’s variations have made him a superstar in limited over games.
The ‘Fizz’ always comes good against West Indies with 16 wickets in nine innings, his best against any side in ODIs. An added incentive will be his numbers against southpaws. Since the 2015 World Cup, 40 percent of his wickets have been left-handers.
Monday’s clash will be display of big hitting batsmen coming up against nifty bowlers. With both teams in desperate need of a win to keep their campaign alive, it promises to be an exciting clash provided the characteristic English weather stays away.