Pakistan v West Indies, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 31, 2014

Big spin test for West Indies in must-win

53

Play 03:08
We should rotate strike better in middle overs - Sammy

This virtual quarter-final of the World T20 between Pakistan and West Indies has been expected for some time now. They are easily the two most exciting sides in this format. Their campaigns till now have panned out in similar fashion. Both went down to by the same margin of seven wickets to India in their opening games, both registered big wins over Bangladesh and finally, both narrowly overcame Australia in thrillers.

The Australia games provide pointers to how this contest could be determined. Glenn Maxwell seemed to have put Pakistan out of the game before they characteristically pounced on the opening his dismissal provided, their spinners kickstarting an Australian collapse from 126 for 2, and 146 for 3, to 175 all out. The West Indies batsmen came hard at Australia, then slowed down in the middle and seemed to have kept it for too late before their lower-middle order hitters swung them to a victory they celebrated wildly.

Australia stuck to a pace-heavy attack for most of the tournament, and it was one of the reasons they conceded big runs in almost every game. The last five overs of West Indies' chase were all bowled by quick bowlers, and the quickest of them, Mitchell Starc, was taken for 19 in the penultimate over by Darren Sammy.

It is no secret that West Indies' hitters like to have pace on the ball so that they can time those powerful swings. Pace will not come from Pakistan, except from Umar Gul, who himself is vastly experienced in this format and will not readily provide it at the wrong time. Barring Gul, there will be no pace at all. Instead, there will be Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and Zulfiqar Babar. That means potentially 16 overs of spin in a 20-over innings.

In all their games so far, West Indies have not found it easy to take on spin. They did make 170-plus against Bangladesh, but that was helped by a shambolic fielding effort from the hosts. Young Australia legspinner James Muirhead removed Chris Gayle with the first ball of his second over. India just squeezed West Indies right from the start, and never allowed them to build any momentum. It can be argued that many sides have found it difficult against slow bowlers in these conditions, but West Indies' self-admitted reliance on the big shots puts them at greater risk.

Suresh Raina had said West Indies preferred to hit sixes and did not rotate strike much, something he said India would target, and did. While West Indies hit more sixes against India than they did against Bangladesh, the Indians were able to cut off the fours. West Indies managed nine against them, compared to 18 against Australia and 17 against the hosts.

Sammy had responded to Raina's comment by saying that if India thought West Indies were a six-hitting game, they should stop them from doing so. However, ahead of the Pakistan match, he acknowledged that turning the strike over against the spinners would be critical if West Indies were to make the semi-finals.

"Whatever approach we come with, we definitely have to rotate the strike," Sammy said. "I think the game against India, where it was spin-oriented, probably 60% of the balls were dot balls, so it's something we've been working on and hopefully we can rotate the strike and get the boundaries in between, and play much better against spin than we've done in the past. It's going to be a very difficult game, but it's a step we're ready to take.

"We've prepared ourselves, and we knew coming down to our fourth game it would be Pakistan and we knew exactly what we have to do, and spin is something that we have to conquer in that game. With that said, we back ourselves, put our runs on the board and defend it, or if it's the other way around, restrict them to a low total and chase it down like we did against Australia, but hopefully it's not 170 we chase.

"Yes, they've got all their spinners, but we've got number one and two in our dressing room as well. They've got to plan to bowl to our batsmen and face our bowlers as well... the last two days we've been practising the way we want to go out and play, whether it be rotating that ball in the middle - we know we could get the boundaries, so we just have to do that. They've got some quality spinners, which we are aware of, but they are not unplayable. In this format of the game, you respect your opposition, but at the end of the day we've shown that on any given day the best bowler can go for many runs, like that final against Sri Lanka [in the 2012 World T20]."

The tournament had started for West Indies with a test against quality spin that they failed to clear. Another one, probably a bigger one, lies in wait against Pakistan. West Indies seem willing to modify their approach. It should be some virtual quarter-final, this.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 1, 2014, 16:42 GMT

    who said W.I can't play spin please don't ever say that again,congrats to the W.I players and fans.

  • baadsha88 on April 1, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    I remember all the pakistani fans that were being harsh on Bangladesh for only scoring 98 against West Indies. Well, now Pakistan has the lowest score. Congrats!

  • on April 1, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    pak vl win

  • q4Qasim on April 1, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    I am requesting all Pakistani cricket team fans that please pray for today match winning. This Pakistani team is strong enough in all department but we have seen in past that some time a bad day can bring them down which no body expected. So for this reason pray for the Pakistani team is required. During Match time we must not forget to go for pray at Mosque because only Allah can provide us victory. I am also requesting to Pakistani players if they reading my comments that please before going to play they must pray 2 rakat nafl and go with dua. I have seen many good matches and in cricket anything is possible so don't say we are good we have quality players only Allah knows what will happen at the end of day so please please pray and pray and don't forget your 5 times daily prayers with dua. Good luck , Good wishes for Pakistani teams and Pakistani supporters all over the world. Thank you.

  • on April 1, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    this will be a bowlers game

  • on April 1, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    when spin department concerns pak have lot of spinners....ajmal afridi hafeez...when pak drop one fast bowler pick one extra batsmen pak easily win today ......all non asian countries not play spin in these conditions....

  • on April 1, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Both PAK and WI have good openers and spinners...but the made play a key role in this match...when compared to pakistan they have U.AKMAL ,MAKSOOD,MALIK bit WI concern not belonging on SAMULES,RAMDIN,BRAVO...but both teams having good finishers....PAK are comfortable againest spin but WI not when compared to two teams PAK are favourite.....see you later enjoy today match.........

  • ozind95 on April 1, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    I think WI will have the due to spin advisor who hail from Pakistan and will be imparting info in regards to Pakistani spinners.

  • on April 1, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    It is very simple whoever chase 120+ runs will lose, wickets become sluggish and dew is not that of a problem so equation is simple

  • on April 1, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    I think Pak and WI are twin teams....i am more worried abt Pak batsmen struggling againt WI spin attack than vice versa.....both teams have hitters and both teams have inconsistant batsmen...batting first for either side wud be the key....

  • on April 1, 2014, 16:42 GMT

    who said W.I can't play spin please don't ever say that again,congrats to the W.I players and fans.

  • baadsha88 on April 1, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    I remember all the pakistani fans that were being harsh on Bangladesh for only scoring 98 against West Indies. Well, now Pakistan has the lowest score. Congrats!

  • on April 1, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    pak vl win

  • q4Qasim on April 1, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    I am requesting all Pakistani cricket team fans that please pray for today match winning. This Pakistani team is strong enough in all department but we have seen in past that some time a bad day can bring them down which no body expected. So for this reason pray for the Pakistani team is required. During Match time we must not forget to go for pray at Mosque because only Allah can provide us victory. I am also requesting to Pakistani players if they reading my comments that please before going to play they must pray 2 rakat nafl and go with dua. I have seen many good matches and in cricket anything is possible so don't say we are good we have quality players only Allah knows what will happen at the end of day so please please pray and pray and don't forget your 5 times daily prayers with dua. Good luck , Good wishes for Pakistani teams and Pakistani supporters all over the world. Thank you.

  • on April 1, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    this will be a bowlers game

  • on April 1, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    when spin department concerns pak have lot of spinners....ajmal afridi hafeez...when pak drop one fast bowler pick one extra batsmen pak easily win today ......all non asian countries not play spin in these conditions....

  • on April 1, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Both PAK and WI have good openers and spinners...but the made play a key role in this match...when compared to pakistan they have U.AKMAL ,MAKSOOD,MALIK bit WI concern not belonging on SAMULES,RAMDIN,BRAVO...but both teams having good finishers....PAK are comfortable againest spin but WI not when compared to two teams PAK are favourite.....see you later enjoy today match.........

  • ozind95 on April 1, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    I think WI will have the due to spin advisor who hail from Pakistan and will be imparting info in regards to Pakistani spinners.

  • on April 1, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    It is very simple whoever chase 120+ runs will lose, wickets become sluggish and dew is not that of a problem so equation is simple

  • on April 1, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    I think Pak and WI are twin teams....i am more worried abt Pak batsmen struggling againt WI spin attack than vice versa.....both teams have hitters and both teams have inconsistant batsmen...batting first for either side wud be the key....

  • on April 1, 2014, 4:27 GMT

    The Dew Shall Play a vital role in the match.

  • Alizx5 on April 1, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    @Chn2..India will be demolished by South Africa - they have Steyn, AB, Amla and co...wait and watch - BTW Pak will reach semis as I'm 100% sure cozz WI can;t play spin..

  • kenos on April 1, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    These are two brittle sides who can have a bad day just so. So let's not imagine either side falling into bad ways. West Indies have one unhittable bowler, Pakistan nearly have one in Ajmal. So can Santokie and Badree be more economical than Gul and Hafeez? Pakistan's best hope here might be for Tanvir to be much tighter than Bravo/Sammy. Pakistan have one big hitter (Afridi) , West Indies have three (and sometimes Russell). Can Afridi outgun Smith, Gayle or Sammy in this match? If the wicket somehow frustrates the big guns, West Indies seem to have more reliable fall-back stock in Simmons, Bravo ,Ramdin and Samuels who is due. But the toss will be crucial. My opinion and bias is that West Indies might just be restricted to less than 170 if batting first, but they can cross 200 if they are chasing. I grant however that this is a hard game to call: one roll of the dice, one over at the right time can determine a T20. Like it's not cricket.

  • on April 1, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    Dis is T20 game which can't be assessed before game,,like NL defeated England. Pak & WI both teams r hot & cold, however a good game will be seen

  • godshand on April 1, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    Look forward to have an Ind-Pak or Ind-WI final this time !!

  • mrhamilton on April 1, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    These are the two most flamboyant teams in the tourney.packed with a curious mix of more or less 60 per cent matchwinners and 40 per cent middling or mediocre.I predict the winner of the title will be the winner of this match .Pakistan most likely who have a history of stepping it up in tournaments

  • on April 1, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    Pak will be a bit of a challange but no enough for west indies

  • Blal on April 1, 2014, 1:38 GMT

    "Big spin test for West Indies " - I would say it's going to be equally big spin test for Pakistan also.

  • on April 1, 2014, 1:13 GMT

    For West Indies To beat Pakistan, they must address their weak areas against spin particularly from the seventh to 15th over, and to combat this they have to rotate the strike better as expressed by captain Sammy and all other followers of Windies. There is one possible solution to this is to ensure Ramdin bats at three. He is one of our best batsman against spin, and has shown the ability to rotate the strike. Moreso, he is in some form now, certainly better than Samuel who uses too many deliveries to get going. Simons is also a good player of spin and should bat at four.

  • on April 1, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    the two most unpredictable sides will face off cant wait to see this match

  • on April 1, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    Knowing both teams, making any prediction will be shooting in the dark. Their skill sets are almost identical except the nerves and those will be tested tomorrow.

    This virtual quarterfinal is a battle of nerves.

    Either way it will be a delight to watch!

  • on March 31, 2014, 23:27 GMT

    will be a great game in between the two very good and full of spritted sides for sports... who ever wins but i Love and always back my team in green.

  • johnstanley on March 31, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    Chn2, you might want to wait before using the words such as demolish etc. I am a strong West Indies supporter but I have seen how others teams have demolished Gayle. He is very good against pace attack, but has failed against teams with spin. Even in West Indies when Pakistan thrashed us, Gayle was out of sorts, so while I hope he does well, I am not about to boast, a very quality that has let West Indies down too many times. Let the ball and bat do the talking instead of these types of statements. May be West Indies will learn from what happened to New Zealand today, a better team than West Indies, who were humiliated today because they took things for granted like you have done with your comments..

  • on March 31, 2014, 22:47 GMT

    ahmad shehzad, umar akmal need to go out there and play their natural game if pak needs to make into semi finals, if the top order fails then it could be hard for Pak to win this match but at the end of the day we all know what Pak is capable of doing, they are the only team that made to semis since the T20 started, and im sure they will make it to semis this year again, lets wait and see how it goes.

  • indianzen on March 31, 2014, 22:41 GMT

    Pak will win. So semis Ind Vs SA - SA will choke to spin. SL vs PAK and SL will win hands down. Its a Ind Vs SL finals again and India will win this cup easily.

  • on March 31, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    I think WI top Batsmen will struggle against Pakistan, especially Gale has poor record against Pakistan, If Pakistan gets to 150+ total then it will be really hard for WI to chase....

  • on March 31, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    @Chn2 Pakistan will eat Windies alive ,they will be one step ahead of them ,Windies batting is so weak they wont be able to stand against the mighty Ajmal ,Afridi and Hafeez not to talk abt the rest huh .....plus everyone knows they get confused whenever spin is going on ....were here for the trophy en ur goin back iA.

  • spellbinder76 on March 31, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    Pakistan should play one extra batsman and drop one fast bowler. Hafeez should also bat down the order.

  • on March 31, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Rotating strike is pretty important in the sluggish conditions like we have seen in NZ/SL match earlier. Ability to play spin well and play lesser dot balls is the key to success on such wickets. I'm not hoping for a high scoring game rather it will be a test of character for both sides under pressure. Sharjeel khan replacing Malik can be a good move as if he gets quick 20-30 runs they can be as handy for Pak as anything.

  • on March 31, 2014, 21:01 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is the difference.

  • on March 31, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    Hello Chn2 it's not gonna be batsmen it's gonna be bowlers who will decide

  • perrystevenhosein on March 31, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    u know we still talking about WI batting going 2 win games,but our bowling is the best in 20/20 cricket at the moment.I think WI are unstoppable .

  • on March 31, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    Pakistan will win it!Game will be a close one and plz remove Shoaib Malik from Pak team and add Rampaul back in WI.

  • on March 31, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    Looks like WI's players are well prepared this time! let's see, who will win!

  • heartbreakerz on March 31, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    Pakistani spinners will demolish the WI once more just like they did when Pak n WI faced each other in d 50 overs WC Q/F at d same venue....

  • on March 31, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    the only way west indies are going to win is if they score at least 165+ while batting first..... otherwise there is no chance whatsoever.... 16 overs from quality spinners, its very very difficult to cope with when you have no clue how to rotate strike...its 65-35 in favor of pakistan....

  • ishtiaq52 on March 31, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    Well it will be a good contest west iindian batting is just like pakistani, but they have mostly hitters so on spin track if hitters dont work they would be in trouble

  • mgr125128 on March 31, 2014, 18:43 GMT

    SANTOKIE..........will spring the surprise since no one considers him even a threat. He will be the Man of Match for his wickets

  • SamNY2013 on March 31, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    @Chn2: If WI plan to demolish Pak then they will go right down. Pak has more quality depth in spinning department, if WI bsatsman go after them then there will be early sucess (like Maxwell) but eventually spinners will have last laugh. Team that bats sensibly will win.

  • spellbinder76 on March 31, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    Pakistan management needs to be creative. They need to set a target for each 5 overs of te game. Hafeez needs to go down the batting order as he does not justify to be in the very impiortant numnber 3 position. The same team should play with Sohaib Maqsood to come at number 3, Umar Akmal at 4 and Afridi at 5.

  • on March 31, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    Lets see what happens. Both the teams are capable of winning. Although Pakistani spinners have an upper hand, WI at the same time can turn it in their favot with the help of Gayle! But I hope Gayle's out cheaply on tuesday. :p

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    Pakistan will be most favourite because they have quality of spinners

  • rayinto on March 31, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    Samuels has to come good for West Indies with the bat. Windies have zero technique against Spin. However, they have the bowling in Badree, Narine and Santokie along with half a dozen allrounders who can do both pace and spin to clean up any team. With the big hitters Smith, Gayle, Russel & Sammy, there is no telling where the ball will end up. It should be an exciting game.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    let's see which team prevails tomorrow. Gi Green shirts go.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    @Chn2 we will see who will overcome it is too early to predict.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    @Chn, like England have beaten Netherlands right?

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    it will depend on both batting line ups. both teams have got good spinners. WI has more hitting ability whereas pak has good bowlers. and same is the case with paksitan. it will be a good game . Toss will be important as it is 2nd game of the day. hoping to see a good game

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    West Indies have never fired against Pakistan, there is fat chance we ll be demolished. In the previous series against them, we didn't see any Gayle innings did we? Our spinners have generally been able to tone down their batsmen and I am hoping tomorrow's game will be similar. The problem as always lies in our batting, apart from Ahmed Shehzad no one fired against Bangladesh. Can we depend on one man to win us a game again?

  • warraich101 on March 31, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    Should be easy win for pak , gut feelings.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    well i have never seen carabian batsman demolishing pak spinners and the spin attack like babar ajmal hafeez and wrippers of afridi i think it will be enough for W.I batting line up...

  • Muttee on March 31, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    It is definitely going to be a bigger test than the indian spin battery but luck is going to matter a lot in this match

  • shahzad678 on March 31, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    pak has quality spin to restrict westindies to under 150

  • Chn2 on March 31, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    West Indies will overcome Pakistani challenge with ease & make to semi. Batsman like Gayle, Bravo & Sami will demolish Pak spinner.

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  • Chn2 on March 31, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    West Indies will overcome Pakistani challenge with ease & make to semi. Batsman like Gayle, Bravo & Sami will demolish Pak spinner.

  • shahzad678 on March 31, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    pak has quality spin to restrict westindies to under 150

  • Muttee on March 31, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    It is definitely going to be a bigger test than the indian spin battery but luck is going to matter a lot in this match

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    well i have never seen carabian batsman demolishing pak spinners and the spin attack like babar ajmal hafeez and wrippers of afridi i think it will be enough for W.I batting line up...

  • warraich101 on March 31, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    Should be easy win for pak , gut feelings.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    West Indies have never fired against Pakistan, there is fat chance we ll be demolished. In the previous series against them, we didn't see any Gayle innings did we? Our spinners have generally been able to tone down their batsmen and I am hoping tomorrow's game will be similar. The problem as always lies in our batting, apart from Ahmed Shehzad no one fired against Bangladesh. Can we depend on one man to win us a game again?

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    it will depend on both batting line ups. both teams have got good spinners. WI has more hitting ability whereas pak has good bowlers. and same is the case with paksitan. it will be a good game . Toss will be important as it is 2nd game of the day. hoping to see a good game

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    @Chn, like England have beaten Netherlands right?

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    @Chn2 we will see who will overcome it is too early to predict.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    let's see which team prevails tomorrow. Gi Green shirts go.