Hosts In The Big League Now

Picture: AP/dawn.com
Spinner Sunil Narine is a key for the West Indies at the World T20. Picture: AP/dawn.com

Forced to qualify for this stage of its own party, Bangladesh has graduated from taking on cricket’s minnows to playing against the big boys. In Group 2, the host nation plays the West Indies , who were beaten first-up by India.

Bangladesh opened qualifying in fine style – crushing Afghanistan and Nepal, before losing to Hong Kong. In that two-wicket loss in Chittagong, they barely reached triple figures and totals of 108 would be easy pickings for their group rivals the Windies, India, Pakistan and Australia.

Conditions at the Sher-e-Bangla should suit the home nation – low, slow pitches which suit the excellent spin options it boasts. With firepower like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy the Windies are smarting after their opening performance, especially being restricted to 7/129 off their 20 overs. There is an obsession in Bangladesh with the national cricket team and the ‘calypso kings’ will have to deal with thousands of ‘12th men’ – passionate local fans cheering deliriously for their side. Between them, Trinidadian spin twins, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine, will have a big job against Bangladesh, if the Windies are to avoid consecutive defeats and almost certain early exit.

Gayle (34) and Simmonds (27) made handy contributions against India, but one of them needed to go on with it. There was also a lack of power hitting, where a batsmen takes apart the bowling. Narine was economical, but didn’t take a wicket, while Badree finished with 1/28 off his four overs.

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