DUBLIN, Ireland – Tomorrow’s Tri-Nations Series final against Bangladesh will provide West Indies with a much-needed gauge of their competitiveness, as they prepare for the ICC World Cup bowling off month end.
West Indies, fielding a second string squad for the ongoing tournament, have failed to get the better of the Tigers in both their meetings in recent weeks, and have now lost six of their last eight matches against the Asian side over the last 12 months.
Assistant coach Roddy Estwick said the Caribbean side had undergone rigorous planning sessions in recent days and the aim was now to deliver in the areas in which they lacked the most.
“The first goal here in Ireland was to make the final and now we’ve got to make sure that we go and win it. We’ve had a lot of discussions, we’ve had a lot of meetings about planning and tactics and it’s up to the players now to go and execute,” Estwick said today.
“We need to show a little more intent with the spinners. They are going at 3.7 runs an over in the two games that we played Bangladesh. I think we have to look to strike at 4.5 to five [runs per over] and then that will give us the chance to get up to the 300, 320 that we are looking for.”
West Indies were well short of those totals in their two encounters against the Bangladeshis. In the first game, they could only muster 261, leaving the Tigers to romp home by eight wickets with five overs remaining.
Last Monday proved to be more of the same as West Indies failed to defend an insufficient 247, losing by five wickets with 16 balls to spare.
The Caribbean side have been guilty of poor outfielding, grassing as many as four catches and missing easy run outs during their last game, and Estwick said this remained an area of concern.
“I think we have bowled well so far but one thing that has been disappointing is something we have worked very, very hard on since we’ve come to Ireland is our fielding. We dropped a lot of catches in the last game … so that’s an area we know we need to improve on and we’re working on it.
“The conditions are not perfect. It’s a little bit cold but it’s cold for both sides and we’ve just got to raise our game and try to improve in that area.”
West Indies have enjoyed standout performances in the series but with all coming against hosts Ireland. In the series opener, John Campbell (179) and Shai Hope (170) put on a staggering 365 for the first wicket to post a new world record partnership.
Hope followed up that knock with 109 against Bangladesh while Sunil Ambris, promoted to opener in the absence of the injured Campbell, struck a magnificent 148 – his maiden ODI hundred – against Ireland last week as West Indies staged their highest ever successful run chase in one-dayers.
“I think there’s been some improvement. You’ve obviously got to be excited when you see two young men – Ambris and Campbell – especially Ambris [in the] unfamiliar role of opening the batting and going on to get a hundred,” Estwick explained.
“Campbell played brilliantly in the one game he’s played in and we’ve asked Shannon (Gabriel) to do a different role and he’s really come up trumps, where he’s coming in after 10 overs and trying to bowl hard lengths and to bowl fast and he’s adapting to that. He’s learning that role.
“And Ashley (Nurse) has improved. He was willing to put in some work the last couple of days – with his spot bowling trying to improve his consistency, trying to improve his action and once he can keep working on that then he’ll continue to improve.”
But while West Indies top order has batted well, there has been very little help from the middle order. Roston Chase has made a solitary half-century, Jonathan Carter has failed to grasp the belated opportunity given to him and Darren Bravo’s form has been woeful and batting-allrounder Fabian Allen has been slotted in too low in the order to have any major impact.
Bangladesh might have to make do without their talismanic allrounder Shakib Al Hasan who has played a prominent part in both of his team’s victories over the West Indies. He suffered a side strain in the previous encounter and is doubtful for the final. Game time is 5.45 a.m. (CMC)
BANGLADESH – Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Abu Jayed, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman Rubel Hossain.
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope (wk), Sunil Ambris, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Jonathan Carter, Fabian Allen, Ashley Nurse, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Fabian Allen, John Campbell, Shane Dowrich.