Conditions count lot more in cricket than most other sports and hence, home team often begins a game with odds in favour, even though they are Bangladesh who've failed to develop their team in last decade against a West Indies side whose formers won two world cups back to back..
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, before world cup 2011 began, had said ~ "We've to win at least four matches to secure a place in the second round (quarterfinals). It is not difficult". Now, it's time Shakib's team walked the talk. West Indies are lowest ranked ODI team in current ICC rankings but that doesn't mean they're any pushovers. in fact, Caribbean side is quitely hovering thoughts of surprising everyone as underdogs in this mega tournament. They've the firepower, specially in batting department, to ravage even the best of bowling attacks on their day and spin twin Sulieman Benn & Nikita Miller are on top of their game.
If Bangladesh indeed dream of reaching knock-out rounds, they've to clear windies hurdle whereas visitors will go a long way boosting their confidence if they can defeat 11 Bangladeshis on field at Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Friday and some 30 thousand around it. With Ireland beating England the other day, competition in group B is getting stiffer and every victory is invaluable. here's how these two teams stand before the battle begins :-
Head to head
16 West Indies v Bangladesh ODIs = West Indies 11, Bangladesh 3 and no results 2. Bangladesh have won last 3 encounters which were all played in West Indies in July 2009 (the first ODI overseas series win for Bangladesh it was over a test playing nation). In world cups, these two teams have fought thrice before and Windies won both the encounters that produced result. 2003 world cup game was washed out at Benoni.
How to bat out full 50 overs is the question Bangladesh need to answer. Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes have looked good on both previous games but failed to turn their innings into something significant. wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim and captain Shakib have taken middle order responsibility but they too have not lived upto expectations. Mohammad Ashraful is expected to keep his place in eleven for his leg/off spin while Roqibul Hasan and Naeem Islam will try to accelerate scoring during batting power plays. Abdur Razzak is best spinner in the side but pacers Shafiul Islam & Rubel Hossain will have their task cut out in this match.
Bangladesh (itsonlycricket's pick) : Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Raqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Naeem Islam, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain and Abdur Razzak.
Chris Gayle hasn't found his touch yet in this world cup but Devon Smith scored a nice half century against Netherlands at Delhi. Ramnaresh Sarwan is in form but young Darren Bravo is the talent to watch out for. Kieron Pollard should be pushed up the order to get set and attack in batting powerplay with captain Darren Sammy and wicket keeper Devon Thomas assisting him. Experienced Shivnarine Chanderpual needs to prove his worth by rallying around the middle order. Sulieman Benn & Nikita Miller are two fine spinners Windies have found in last couple of years but Kemar Roach will be high on confidence after his hattrick against Netherlands.
West Indies (itsonlycricket's pick) : Devon Smith, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpual, Kieron Pollard, Devon Thomas (wk), Darren Sammy (capt), Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller and Kemar Roach.
"We'll have to be at our best to beat them (West Indies). I'm confident we can win, but for that to happen we must play good cricket", Bangladesh captain isn't counting his chickens before they're hatched.
"I think every aspect of Bangladesh's bowling, whether its spin or pace, we have to take seriously as they rely heavily on their spinners and will want them to do well but our intention is to play them well to get runs on the board", says Windies captain Darren Sammy, conceeding his team is wary of home team's bowling.