UAE sense opportunity in floundering WI - Tauqir
The UAE captain says West Indies' batting has been inconsistent and their bowling not in the same class as other teams
In the years since their decline, West Indies have copped criticism from former players, from current players, from fans and now, even from the opposition.
"They are not playing as consistently as they should be," Mohammad Tauqir, UAE's captain said. "They are very unpredictable and rely heavily on Chris Gayle. We can see some opportunity playing against them tomorrow."
Gayle is fit and has been training since Thursday, even as his back problem continues to nag at his form. His 215 against Zimbabwe remains his only score of substance in the tournament so far and Tauqir and co want to keep it that way. "He has played a good couple of innings but he has been out of form as well," he said. "We need to bowl and field well."
UAE were on the receiving end of big runs from both Pakistan and South Africa and could find themselves in the same position in their final outing. West Indies are under pressure because they not only need a win, but also need to up their net run rate and Jason Holder indicated that may act as a catalyst for them to play freely.
"We will play with as much freedom as we can because that's when we are at our best," Holder said. "Hopefully guys will free up as much as possible and remember that what's important is to be aggressive."
Holder's instruction was intended at his bowlers too, especially after seeing how UAE reacted to the short ball barrage they received from South Africa on Thursday night. "We need to be aggressive. They seem not to like the aggressive stuff," Holder said.
But Tauqir was not too threatened by the warning that Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor may attack his batsmen with the same venom the South African pack did. "West Indies have a good pace attack but South Africa are in a different league. Philander and Morkel and Steyn, they are world class. They bowled some very hostile deliveries," he said.
On the night of that game, Tauqir was "shocked," by the South African's body-beating tactics, but now he believes that has prepared his line-up for what's to come. "Playing almost 50 overs against them gave us a lot of confidence and it's a big positive for us," he said. "West Indies will be under pressure and it will give us opportunity to play freely and express ourselves."
Holder's response was measured. "They are an international cricket team and we don't expect them to be a walkover," he said, before ending with a little warning of his own. "There's no point trying to force the result but we know it's ideal that we wrap it up as quickly as possible. If we see an opportunity to do that, we should take it."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent