ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Bangladesh v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Mirpur
The scramble starts in earnest
March 3, 2011
Match FactsMarch 4, Mirpur
Start time 2.30 pm (0830 GMT)
The Big Picture
It's not yet a knockout contest, but the loser of this one will require a standing count. After a week of ever-escalating entertainment in Group B, the tournament is just about to get deadly serious for two opponents who will have watched the past few days' events in Bangalore with a host of contrasting emotions. Bangladesh and West Indies know a place in the quarter-finals is there for the taking, especially in light of England's struggles to impose themselves on the tournament. But with Ireland on the march after their epic triumph on Wednesday night, there's suddenly a sixth competitor waiting to pounce on the next team to blink.
Bangladesh enter this contest on a tide of popular acclaim. The manner in which they overcame the Irish in Mirpur last week has reinforced the belief that in their favoured home conditions, with a quartet of canny spinners to take advantage of their slow, low surfaces, they are quite capable of holding their own against teams with superior credentials - let alone a team such as West Indies who are below them in the world rankings. That Ireland were able to saunter past 327 against England in Bangalore, yet flounder in pursuit of 206 in Bangladesh, will serve as a warning to West Indies' power-hitters. Unless someone does a Sehwag - and no prizes for guessing the likeliest candidates - this one could be another war of attrition.
That's not to say that West Indies do not have the skill or patience to overcome the conditions. Chris Gayle's diligent 110-ball 80 against the Netherlands was an atypical performance from such an explosive player, but it mirrored almost perfectly Tamim Iqbal's 86-ball 70 in Bangladesh's opening defeat against India. It's almost as though the two men had primed themselves for a controlled explosion at a later date, and just as Tamim's 44 made the difference against Ireland, the winner of their head-to-head tussle could well propel the destiny of the match.
Realistically, this one is too close to call. Both teams have begun with a win and a loss apiece, but if West Indies' dispatching of the Netherlands was eye-catchingly comprehensive, with Kemar Roach's hat-trick setting the seal on an excellent day's work, Bangladesh's self-belief in their out-muscling of Ireland was no less impressive. Strength in adversity has rarely been Bangladesh's strong-point, but right from the moment Mohammad Ashraful reduced the Irish to 75 for 3 in the 19th over, their body language was that of a team that knew it would win. In a tussle between two teams ranked eighth and ninth in the world, such displays of belief will be critical.
(completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies WLLLL
Watch out for...
Bangladesh's captain, Shakib Al Hasan, is a combative cricketer and a top-notch left-arm spinner. With his unwavering accuracy and subtle variations in flight and bite, he is capable of rattling through his overs almost before a batsman has a chance to react, and no-one in the Bangladesh team is better equipped to turn the screw if West Indies allow themselves to lose momentum in the middle overs. With the bat he has looked in form without kicking on to a big one. There's no time like the present to restate his credentials as the world's leading allrounder in ODI cricket.
It's hard to look beyond Chris Gayle for West Indian inspiration in this fixture. As Virender Sehwag showed for India in the tournament opener, massive totals are possible at Mirpur if a batsman is willing to put his weight through every shot. His darting offspin might be of equal value, however. He rarely looks as though he's trying with the ball, as he plods in off two paces and spears each delivery straight into the blockhole. But the slower they arrive, the slower they tend to be dispatched in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh have named their twelve: the XI that played in the last game, plus the offspinner Mahmudullah, who made way for Mohammad Ashraful in the Ireland game. A recall is conceivable, though it would be tough on either Naeem Islam, whose tidy spell backed up a vital 29, or Ashraful, whose de facto role as an on-field mascot got the Mirpur crowd right behind the team early in the contest.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mohammad Ashraful, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Shafiul Islam, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Rubel Hossain.
With Dwayne Bravo ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury, West Indies have been shorn of a key allrounder and a cunning allsorts bowler who would have been very handy in the conditions. But an unchanged side is on the cards after a handsome and morale-boosting win over the Dutch.
West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Devon Smith, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Devon Thomas (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Nikita Miller, 11 Kemar Roach.
Pitch and conditionsThe word in town is that a more helpful spinning wicket has been prepared for this fixture, though that is a common refrain - the likelihood is another shock-absorber of a surface. The weather conditions are not a problem, and it's much warmer than during the Ireland fixture, so dew should be even less of a factor under the lights.
Stats and trivia
- Bangladesh have not faced West Indies in 50-over cricket since their tour of the Caribbean in July 2009, in which they achieved a clean sweep in the three-match series, and also triumphed in the Test series, against a team stricken by industrial action.
- Bangladesh could have as many as nine survivors from that final ODI, at Basseterre. West Indies can still call upon the services of five players, including the captain Darren Sammy, and the paceman Kemar Roach.
- Chris Gayle needs one run to reach 8000 in ODIs.
"Obviously we want to go to the next round. It is not as if we have to win tomorrow because we will have three more matches but a win will surely take us a step forward."
Shakib Al Hasan has his eyes set on victory
"You can say Bangladesh are ranked higher than us, but we have to go out and play to the best of our ability. We won't be taking them lightly, but at the end of the day, they are beatable, we have done it before. We have a gameplan and we will go out and execute it."
Darren Sammy wants West Indies to play to their reputation, not their ranking