The result has been successive defeats to England and South Africa. On Friday, West Indies will look to get their T20 World Cup campaign back on track and keep their semifinals hope alive when they take on equally beleaguered Bangladesh in Sharjah. Notably, the Windies batsmen have struggled against spin. In their opening match against England, they were shot out for a miserable 55.
There was marginal improvement against South Africa, but it wasn’t enough to make the contest interesting. Barring Evin Lewis‘ 35-ball 56 and a 26-run cameo from Pollard, there wasn’t much to show as the two-time champions settled for 143/8 on a good surface. Opener Lendl Simmons was guilty of eating up balls with his painfully slow 35-ball 16. He hadn’t covered himself in glory in the morale-sapping six-wicket loss to England either.
Not just Simmons, the entire West Indian batting unit is yet to warm up to the carnival. Resultantly, they are staring at early elimination. Established stars like Chris Gayle (13 and 12), Shimron Hetymer (9 and 1), Dwayne Bravo (5 and 8*) and Andre Russell (0 and 5) have turned up with cold bats. Wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran has carried his wretched run from the IPL.
On tracks which are slow and necessitate application of skill and mind, West Indies must be smart in assessing the conditions instead of blindly giving in to their natural instinct of going for the big shots. Unless they regroup as a unit, even the equally embattled Bangladesh won’t be easy meat.
Adding salt to West Indian wounds is the right-shin injury to left-arm seamer Obed McCoy, who has since been replaced by Jason Holder.
Bangladesh go into the contest with their own share of woes, following defeats to Sri Lanka and England in their two Group A fixtures. For starters, they will have to be sharper in the field. Their sloppy catching was one of the main reasons for their five-wicket loss to Sri Lanka.
Their batsmen too need to fire. Only Mohammad Naim (62) and Mushfiqur Rahim (57) have topped fifty in the tournament, both against Sri Lanka, but their efforts went in vain as Liton Das dropped catches off Charith Asalanka (80 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (53), allowing them to string together a match-winning 86-run partnership. Both teams will hope for their bowlers to regain discipline, and for their batsmen to show greater awareness, if they aspire to go deeper in the competition.