Cricket

Shared desires

West Indies, Bangladesh both desperate for points and momentum at Cricket World Cup

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
@ ICC Cricket World Cup In England & Wales

Monday, June 17, 2019

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TAUNTON, England — The Bangladesh versus West Indies contest today at County Ground is a fascinating one, with both sides desperate for points and momentum.

The first ball is scheduled to be bowled at 10:30 am (4:30 am Jamaica time).

At the halfway point of the 2019 Cricket World Cup's league phase, there is hardly anything to separate the two.

West Indies have three points from four matches, as do the Bangladeshis, but the Caribbean men have the edge due to a fractionally better net run rate.

For both teams, the tournament began well before things took a turn for the worse.

West Indies blew away Pakistan, lost to Australia when they had a very good chance to win, endured a no-result due to rain against South Africa in their opener, and lost badly to hosts England.

Bangladesh stunned South Africa, were defeated in a close one to New Zealand, then lost to England before wet weather scuppered the possibility of full points against Sri Lanka.

With semi-final places up for grabs in this 10-team tournament this encounter gives the opportunity to break the points tie, unless rain has yet another say.

“We are in the middle of the table at this present time with five games left and I think the ball is in our court. We've just got to play some consistent cricket going into the back half of the tournament,” West Indies captain Jason Holder said during yesterday's pre-game press conference.

“It's quite a good stage to pick up momentum and we're full of confidence we can do it. Tomorrow is a challenging game against Bangladesh, so we just want to get over Bangladesh and move on,” continued the 27-year-old Holder who is set to play his 100th One-Day International.

His counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza, 35, stressed the need for his team to seize the moment.

“Obviously, a few matches are left but tomorrow's game is very important for us. We've got to play well. They (West Indies) always come hard and the kind of cricket they play, they always stay positive and play shots, which is good and can be bad,” said the Bangladesh skipper.

Bangladesh have a clear advantage in recent match-ups, winning seven of their last nine clashes with the West Indies. Albeit against a weakened West Indies team, Bangladesh won all three contests between the two in a recent tri-nation series in Ireland.

Holder said he was unconcerned about who sported the favourites tag, while pointing out that a game in the World Cup adds various elements.

“If you want to put us in the underdog category, well fair enough. We've played them quite a bit in recent past and they've got the better of us. But it's a different stage, a different occasion and lots at stake in this game, so we're all up for it,” he said.

Notably, West Indies have never lost to Bangladesh in the World cup, notching victories in 1999, 2007, and 2011.

Both sides are engaged in injury-watch heading into today's game.

The West Indies' explosive all-rounder Andre Russell has suffered with chronic knee trouble and did not train with his teammates yesterday. Talk from the team camp is that he will have final assessment before start of play. Left-hand batsman Evin Lewis sustained a knock while batting in the nets, but Holder said he should be fine to play.

Bangladesh will be sweating over the fitness of wicketkeeper/batsman Mushfiqur Rahim who was struck on the arm at practice a couple of days ago. He will also be assessed this morning.

While Bangladesh depend a lot on spin, which has served them well in the past, West Indies will most certainly bank on pace to dismiss their opponents.

Off-break bowler Mehidy Hasan and left-arm finger spinner Shakib al Hasan have troubled West Indies in the past, and both as well as the side's other spin options are expected to feature prominently today. And the off-spinners will relish the prospect of facing a West Indies side possessing a plethora of left-handers in the top order.

Holder noted the likelihood of Bangladesh utilising a spin-centric attack.

“I don't want to sit here and perceive what they are going to come with, but we're open to anything. Traditionally, they rely heavily on their spinners, and we don't expect them to move too far away from that. It's a smallish ground, and I saw the wicket today as well and it had grass on it, so we'll see how it plays,” he said.

Mortaza also spoke to his side's slow-bowling strength while emphasising the challenges they may have with the ground's relatively short boundaries against the raw power of the West Indies batting line-up.

“We've been quite successful against them with off-spinners so we have to think about it as well,” he said.

“It's a small ground too, so we have to think about that as well. West Indies have got so much power, but a small ground is also good for us.”

Left-hander Shakib, who already has a century at this tournament, is Bangladesh's in form batsman. Nicholas Pooran, also left-handed, has been the West Indies team's most consistent performer and top scored with 63 in their last outing.


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