DHAKA – West Indies will chase a crucial year-ending series win when they clash with Bangladesh in the second Twenty20 International of the three-match rubber here Thursday.
While the preceding Test and one-day series went Bangladesh’s way quite convincingly, that West Indies would stage a much better fight in the T20I series would have come as no surprise to anyone.
They are, after all, the current holders of the T20 World Cup and boast of a host of power hitters in the lineup who can topple any attack in the world.
Bangladesh found it the hard way in the first T20I on Monday as a Shai Hope blitzkrieg blew away the hosts by eight wickets.
Chasing 130 for a win, West Indies aided by a 23-ball 55 by Hope romped home in a mere 10.5 overs. The visitors will be hoping for a similar result come the second T20I at Sher-e-Bangla International Cricket Stadium in Mirpur as they look to seal the three-match series.
West Indies ticked most boxes in that opening game. Pacer Sheldon Cottrell, who was elected Man of the Match for his four for 28 broke Bangladesh’s back early with a flurry of wickets and along with fellow fast bowler Oshane Thomas will be keen to give his side a similar start.
Thomas was at his fiery best in the opening encounter and having gotten himself an IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals will go into the second T20I with renewed gusto.
Apart from Hope, who has been in the form of his life this tour, Nicholas Pooran and Keemo Paul were impressive as well. Captain Carlos Brathwaite also showed form with the ball and will be hoping his team can come up with another collective performance and take the series in Mirpur.
For Bangladesh, on the other hand, barring Shakib Al Hasan’s 43-ball 61 not much went in their favour. Only three of their batsmen could manage double-digit scores as Bangladesh lost four wickets within the Powerplay.
It was only because of captain Shakib’s half-century that they indeed managed to reach 129. While the Mirpur surface is likely to aid the Bangladeshi batsmen more, they will have to look at scoring a lot more in the first six overs when the field is up.
The experienced hands in Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah will have to bear that much extra responsibility and take the initiative against the West Indian pacers with the others while looking to go hard against the spinners.
The bowlers as well will have to find a way to first breach through the mighty Hope whose last three international innings read 55, 108 not out and 146 not out. The 25-year-old has been the mainstay of the West Indian batting unit and Bangladesh will know getting him out cheaply might make the rest of the batters slightly nervous.
The Mirpur surface is likely to take plenty of turn which will bring the likes of Mehidy Hasan and Shakib into play. Sher-e-Bangla International Cricket Stadium has been Bangladesh’s fort and they will like to keep it that way.
The last T20I played here saw scores in excess of 190 in both innings and a similar high-scoring affair is expected this time around as well.
SQUADS: BANGLADESH – Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Hider Rony, Ariful Haque, Mustafizur Rahman
WEST INDIES – Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Kesrick Williams, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Shai Hope, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.