India v West Indies, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 23, 2014

West Indies shackled by swing and spin

West Indies have often started slowly before, but this time their big-hitters weren't allowed to open out when the innings prospered

In Twenty20 cricket, West Indies are often known to start slowly with the bat and look to preserve wickets, banking on their big hitters to make up with rapid scoring later in the innings. Against India, their openers began slowly yet again, but this time it might not have been entirely out of choice. India bowled beautifully with the new ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in particular, swung the ball both ways and will wonder how he ended up with no wickets.

Against this sort of bowling, the openers struggled to put bat to ball. Bhuvneshwar had Dwayne Smith tied down for 15 deliveries, conceding just one run. Chris Gayle faced three deliveries from the medium-pacer, taking just a single. That is 18 deliveries within the Powerplay that brought West Indies three runs, which included a wide.

Having just watched impressive young batsmen like Umar Akmal and Glenn Maxwell enliven the Sunday afternoon, the Mirpur crowd had been waiting to see how Gayle and Smith, established T20 stars, would go about attacking the Indian bowlers. Instead, they got to see a struggle.

West Indies' run rate didn't go up by all that much even after Bhuvneshwar went out of the attack. It didn't help them that Gayle was run out just when he was starting to warm up, having hit Mohammed Shami and Amit Mishra for sixes over wide-ish long on.

But those two blows were all West Indies could muster, and you sensed that previous successes with a go-slow strategy at the start may have been at the back of the batsmen's minds. There was no attempt to go after the Indian bowlers, and even Suresh Raina managed to get through two quiet overs.

West Indies captain Darren Sammy gave credit to Bhuvneshwar for bowling 16 dot balls in the Powerplay overs. He did say, though, that West Indies would need to play the spinners with much more authority.

"I think credit must go to the opening bowler," Sammy said. "Kumar swung the ball both ways and bowled in good areas. He kept two of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket quiet. There is no need to panic for us, it is just one wrong.

"We have three more games left, and we back ourselves to win them. I think we just didn't respond well enough to their spinners. We have a strong feeling that we will meet again, and we are looking forward to that."

India wouldn't have dreamt up a start like this but Suresh Raina did say in the pre-match press conference that West Indies bank more on hitting sixes rather than rotating the strike. This probably is an off-shoot of their usual strategy to start slowly and look for big hits in the later overs. This happened in the 2012 World T20 as well, both in the semi-final against Australia and the final against Sri Lanka.

In the semi-final, Gayle exploded after starting slowly in the first 10 overs while in the final, Marlon Samuels played one of the greatest innings in this format to bail them out. On both occasions, one batsman made it big while others contributed with rapid runs in the end overs.

That didn't happen today. They lost too many wickets in the middle overs, so they never got any momentum going. Their start, thanks to Bhuvneshwar, was even slower than it normally would have been.

Lendl Simmons and Sunil Narine hit three sixes in the last over while Andre Russell hit one in the 18th over. West Indies' average RPO in the first six overs is 6.95, but it was exactly 4.00 in this game. They came close to matching their average RPO of the last five overs in this game, but fell short of a competitive total.

What all of this showed was wickets in hand usually helps for a final push. Today West Indies neither had wickets, nor the runs at the start.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alex on March 24, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    WI doubtless unprepared for swing, as they usually are when they come to England - but I doubt they expected it in Bangladesh! Imho Smith is a good slugger but not as talented a player as Simmons or Johnson Charles, who at some point would have at least connected with some of those Kumar deliveries and should be opening with Gayle. WI batsmen do give the impression in T20 of expecting to hit fours and sixes alone; their running between the wickets and general rotation of the strike is abysmal. Big wake up call for WI, I hope they improve, it's great to watch them play well.

  • Harry on March 24, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    Facts - Ind bowling was disciplined and accurate except Jadeja. Ind fielding was sloppy apart from Raina and Kohli. Ind batting world class except Yuvraj played like he didnt know where the stumps were. WI batting never showed up and this was not a surprise since they looked rusty against Ireland back home and were falsely boosted by Eng.

    The reality is both teams need to make changes for rest of the tournament - Ind needs to get rid of Yuvraj and get someone who is in form, anybody. WI needs to get of Smith and open with Simmons and Gayle and bring Rampaul in.

    @Twinkie - Yuvraj was playing for the WI and Samuels could not take the agony and got him out with 3 balls to spare. As MSD politely pointed out Ind should have won with 2-3 overs to spare.

    MSD should change his bowling strategy based on opposition. Against the Aussies, Mishra should bowl out within the first 12 overs. Ashwin will get hit all over the park by Finch and Watson. Either Yuvraj bowls or replace him with Binny

  • Ali on March 24, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    @ Abhimanyu Mazumdar

    you need to watch more cricket, or at least play some.

    because a strong batting team can be bowled out for 100 today and a weak one can make 180 tomorrow !

    Mentally the WI batsmen were defensive and pensive. They did not attack the bowling. They were scared and playing for their spots ! They did not take chances until the last over....

    India did not bowl well,,, 14 wides, no clean bowled and only 1 lbw, dies not indicate good bowling!

    WI batted poorly,,, India did not bowl well .....

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    It's the same old story with the Windies, a complete lack of urgency, with no strategy or thought-process in their cricket. They just assume that the sixes will come, but what happens if they don't?...the Indians bowled tight and disciplined and as a result, the Windies put too much pressure on themselves to score a competitive total. Not even attempting to rotate the strike or looking for the gaps is inexcusable. For the Windies to have any chance in this tournament, they have to bat well, their bowling is not strong enough to put pressure on the opposition unless they're defending a huge total or an outside chance of chasing, in the hope of the batters coming off.

  • Donna on March 24, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    What! They won with only two balls to spare? I didn't watch the match but from the comments made here I thought India had romped home in quick time! I had to double check when someone said in passing that they won with two balls to spare. Who would have guessed with the comments being made here that it was that close. I also heard that India "hid the ball". In the West Indies we old- timers call that unsporting. I guess in modern T20 cricket it is acceptable. Step outside the West Indian box West Indies players! They don't play it like we do.

  • Yohan on March 24, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    West indies were done by their lethargic , over confident attitude that they can win only by sixers . this WI team won last world cup and still in the gangnam mode . thats why they tried to dance even in warm ups when got wickets . Amid they missed the plot and surely heading for early exit .

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    dwayne smith ruined windies chances and india played really well but have to say pitches in both suits india more thn windies...and decision to rest dhoni before T20 world cup worked well for india...

  • irish on March 24, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    I am an Indian but I love West Indians too, I was very disappointed to see them play like novices..This is just not their style of cricket..We were all looking forward to thriller of a math..That said credit must go to MSD..He has realized his fast bowling tank is not lethal and has concentrated on 3 way spin attack with Mishra finally getting a look in..MSD your test record is poor but still your one day and t2o record is very good...But now since teams have noticed that you have deployed 3 way spin attack..don't be too predictable..Keep them guessing,,,Best of luck and West Indies im looking forward for your Big hitters to peel of leather in your next match!

  • Android on March 24, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    india cricket team good cricket in T20 would cup.

  • Radhakrishnan on March 24, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Effect of IPL?. Well done guys. Always we have players like Dwayne , Gayle, Sunil will play for us and they often forget that WI is their own nation