After a Test series which was way too one-sided for the benefit of anyone, West Indies and Bangladesh begin a three match T20 run which has the potential to be similar as both teams continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup later in the year.
West Indies are perceived as one of the powerhouses in this format, while Bangladesh showed at the last T20 World Cup that they have plenty to find in this format of the game. They have three chances here to start their improvement though.
West Indies are the kings of this format of the game but a number of the men who made them so successful in it are either a thing of the past or heading towards the final stages of their career so whether it be now or after the next T20 World Cup later in the year, they are going to need to produce a new crop of players who will carry the baton. The good thing for West Indies is those huge stars don’t always make themselves available so the next breed get plenty of game time.
We know all about West Indies as a powerful batting force. The interesting thing about their batting will be whether they can rotate the strike better than they have done in the past. Younger players should be more athletic but it isn’t really the Caribbean style. Regardless of that, you sense that the success or otherwise of the next generation of West Indies cricket will be determined by how well they bowl, particularly at the death of an innings.
While Bangladesh are a force to be reckoned with in the 50 over version of the white ball game, they haven’t really ever clicked in the 20 over version of it. One of the reasons for that is the difference in their home and away conditions while another would be that not many of their players get accepted into the overseas leagues which often enhance the skills. They only really have Shakib-al-Hasan and Mustafizur doing the very best leagues which isn’t ideal.
While the Bangladesh domestic T20 competition is sustainable and works, it isn’t one of the biggest leagues in the world and as such it struggles to attract the very best talent and so the home players don’t improve as a result. A lack of natural power with the bat goes against Bangladesh in this format of the game, as does an overreliance on spin which goes against them on the road when T20 tends to be played on flat tracks.
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West Indies are without all of their seasoned campaigners with the likes of Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard all a thing of the past. That leaves the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Odean Smith and Romario Shepherd to carry the baton.
Bangladesh are without Mushfiqur Rahim and Yasir Ali for this match which certainly doesn’t help their batting depth but Afif Hossein has a chance to show he can do a stronger role in the side. The bowling looks strong though.
We’re not completely sure about what the pitch will be like here because there hasn’t been any cricket held here since the pandemic came around. It is the first T20 international here since 2014 so it isn’t exactly a regular fixture on the international calendar, however there are two matches in successive days on this ground and curators don’t tend to have time to prepare two pitches for that situation so whatever wicket we play on here is likely to have to be good for two matches.
That makes me think it will be decent enough for batting in this match and as such I think we will see a number of sixes as a result. Clearly we know West Indies trade in the currency of sixes in this format of the game but they don’t have those lockdown bowlers like a Narine or Bravo would have been in the past which opens up the potential for Bangladesh to hit some sixes here too. This isn’t the biggest ground in the world so if the wicket is good for batting as I would expect it to be I expect a dozen sixes here.
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