Two teams that have games washed out and sit on the wrong end of the table. Two teams that desperately need a win to keep their World Cup hopes alive. That will be the over-arching theme as the West Indies take on Bangladesh today.
Four games, one win, two losses and a no result. The points might not paint a pretty picture for Bangladesh but they also do not fairly represent the good cricket they’ve played in this tournament. The Tigers registered an emphatic win over South Africa in their opener. They also held their ground and gave a tough fight in their losses to top teams like New Zealand and England.
Looking at their form, the washout against Sri Lanka, a match Bangladesh could have won, seems cruel.
The same goes for West Indies, who started their campaign with an easy win against Pakistan. They then lost a close one to Australia. The Windies, however, were below par in their last loss to England. In light of these results, the washout against South Africa, where the Windies started well, will sting.
Oshane Thomas vs Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal has had a woeful World Cup so far. He has 59 runs in three games, with an average of 19.67.
For an opening batsman, those are dreadful numbers. Considering that Iqbal is Bangladesh’s all-time leading ODI run-scorer (6695 in 194 innings), you get an idea of the tough time he’s having in England.
Unfortunately for him and Bangladesh, Windies spearhead Oshane Thomas is unlikely to give him an inch of space. The trio of Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Shannon Gabriel is akin to a fire-breathing machine that relies on raw pace and bounce.
Tamim does average 40.22 in ODIs against the Windies. In the absence of an in-form Mushfiqur Rahim (and possibly Shakib-Al-Hasan), the Tigers will need Iqbal to back to his usual self.
Chris Gayle vs Mohammad Saifuddin
This World Cup is Chris Gayle’s swansong. We’re yet to see a classic Gayle innings, however.
Gayle’s only scored a single ODI century against Bangladesh in 21 innings. He has a middling average of 34.78 and his strike-rate is also low at 71.92.
The Universe Boss can never be counted out. He has the ability to spring out a massive innings from nowhere and can be a key piece especially if West Indies are chasing.
Gayle will meet a formidable foe in the form of Mohammad Saifuddin. The Bangladeshi pacer is emerging as a genuine wicket-taking bowler, leading the charts for his country at this World Cup. Saifuddin currently has six wickets in three games.
In the last game, he dismissed Joe Root and Jos Buttler. Two prized batsmen. Bangladesh will be looking forward to something similar today.
Despite his wicket-taking, Saifuddin has also proved to be an expensive bowler with an economy rate of 7.33 in this tournament. He allows you to attack but that is also where he picks up wickets. The West Indies batting unit will have to tread carefully while dealing with him.
On paper, these are two well-matched sides. Injuries to Mushfiqur and Shakib, however, tilt the scales in West Indies’ favor.
For the Windies, winning the toss and bowling first would be the right approach. They were successful with this approach against Pakistan and also took Australia by surprise. Moreover, they’re batsmen, barring Shai Hope, lack the composure to build an innings (as seen in the match vs England).
If West Indies bowl first, then they would emerge as the victors. If they bat first, their chances of winning reduce but we’ll still give them the edge over an injury-ridden Bangladesh.