World Twenty20 2014 March 22, 2014

Defending champions possess measured belief



The defending champions are in pretty good shape. One could say they departed the Caribbean and arrived in Bangladesh with some of a swagger; not over-confidence, just a measured belief in what they can achieve as a T20 side.

Although they are missing one player who would walk into the starting XI - Kieron Pollard - and another who would certainly be in the squad - Kemar Roach - West Indies retain the fundamentals of a powerful Twenty20 side.

The batting is packed with boundary strikers, from Chris Gayle down to Darren Sammy, while Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree are a potent spin combination. Pace off the ball can also be provided by the cutters of Sammy, Dwayne Bravo and Krishmar Santokie, along with the darts of Gayle and Marlon Samuels. Sammy retains the captaincy of the T20 side, having been demoted in favour of Bravo in one-day cricket, and he is probably the most emotional captain on display.

There remains a concern that too much emphasis is being placed on T20 cricket for West Indies, hampering any hopes of a meaningful revival in their Test and, to a lesser extent, one-day cricket. There certainly appears to be a correlation - the shorter the format, the more vibrant West Indies become.

The decisions of some individuals always comes under the spotlight, but before this tournament Gayle was at pains to insist that nothing comes ahead of representing the region. Their success 18 months ago brought joy on and off the field; if they become the first team to successfully defend a World T20 title you know it will be done with just as much flair.

Key players

It is hard to look past the skills of Sunil Narine particularly given the role spinners are likely to play through the tournament. His economy rate continues to hover at below a run-a-ball. Away from the power of their top order, Darren Sammy has developed into one of finest finishers in this format of the game. No mathematically achievable total is safe if he's there at the end.

Surprise package

It has been quite a few weeks for left-arm swing bowler Krishmar Santokie: signed up for the IPL, recalled to West Indies colours and a Man-of-the-Match award against England. At times England played him as though they were not sure what they were facing and that could well be his secret weapon at the World T20.


Although West Indies' fielding can be as good as anyone, it also retains a fallibility which can show itself in both the groundwork and the catching. Such moments can prove costly in tournament cricket. Also, there will be crossed fingers over the fitness of Gayle given his recent problems. West Indies have power hitters beside him, but his presence at the top gives an aura to the side that is not easily reproduced.

World T20 history

The Gangnam Style were a unique way to celebrate the title last time out. It was by far their best World T20 outing although the prize was secured by winning just three matches outright but there was also a Super Over success.

Recent form

They played some impressive T20 cricket to secure the series against England 2-1 and it marked a timely lift in confidence after sharing a series 1-1 with Ireland and suffering defeats in New Zealand.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    lets go windies, first 10 overs close to 100 runs and then the last ten overs try to get close to 200 plus, especially if we bat first, in that way we can defend properly with our bowiling unit

  • Android on March 23, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    2 dangerous team face each other

  • Anubhav on March 23, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    Today it is spin vs spin. Who plays spin better wins, so dew could be a factor...With Dhoni incoming in this cup, chasing will not be much of a problems...but Indian bowlers cannot be relied to do bowling equivalent of chasing.

  • Anand on March 23, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    WI are not united as 2 years back.. I can see the rift..

  • Vikrant on March 23, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    Krishmar Santokie will be crucial as he is a very good underrated bowler and he will be valuable for Mumbai Indians as he is 'The Left Handed Version Of Malinga' who will be leaving in the middle of IPL for England tour

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    As an Indian, I really want West Indies to win - they are the side - which brings the true meaning of cricket out! Its funny but I think they are the perfect T20 side!

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    I hope West Indies set goals and roles for each player. The openers goal should be to post 50 runs within the first 5 overs. The focus should be on achieving a target of at least 190. One player should try to bat out the 20 overs and the players for that role should be Gayle, Bravo, and Samuel. The accelerators should be Sammy, and Russell and they should be flexible in the order to allow themselves to get a go at things.

  • Syed on March 22, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    West indies 11 should be Gayle, Smith, Samuels, Simmons, Bravo, Sammy, Russell, Narine, Rampaul, Santokie, Badree Simmons should keep the wicket, i dont have trust on ramdin but looking at his recent form he will play in place of santokie. If Gayle gets going the whole WI team gets going, if he doesnt then they reach 140 with very hard work Hope Gayle clicks tomorrow and WI wins against India

  • Dennis on March 22, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    I'd have to disagree with their weakness. It definitely isn't their fielding...unfortunately, their weakness is also their's their batting hands down. When they click, you're guaranteed a 175-200 total but unfortunately that same batting side also gets out cheaply far too often which makes them very unreliable. So far they've been playing well as a group so hopefully that'll carry through the group stages to the semi-finals and hopefully a win. Aside from not having Pollard...they're playing their best 11 right now with the exception of idea why he keeps getting called up.

  • kartikeya on March 22, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    We will win the cup this time. rally round the West Indies.

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