Bangladesh need top-order lift to challenge Windies

Ashley Nurse rejoices after picking up a wicket AFP

West Indies will go into the second T20I in Fort Lauderdale armed with the confidence that their big hitters and aggressive bowlers are firing in tandem, presenting a challenge even greater for a Bangladesh side that hasn’t been able to sustain its success for any measurable period through this tour.

As always, much of Bangladesh’s hopes would fall on their four senior batsmen, but there’s a lot more that the likes of Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Ariful Haque can bring to the table.

Soumya, despite being thrown multiple lifelines, has failed to find a way out his wretched form, while Liton needs to capitalise on impressive starts and push on to producing something more substantial. Ariful is still young at the international level, but expectations from newcomers have never been higher in the Bangladesh set-up.

The bowling load will be shared between Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman, who both are usually required to bowl at critical phases in T20s, with Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Shakib Al Hasan providing support. Nazmul Islam, who debuted earlier this year, needs to adapt quickly if he is to survive in this spin attack.

West Indies, the world champions, have very little to worry about. Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams complemented each other, taking eight wickets together, before Andre Russell, returning from injury, Marlon Samuels and Rovman Powell upended the chase in a six-heavy onslaught in the last game. If those signs weren’t worrying enough for Bangladesh, they are compounded by West Indies’ superlative record at this venue: they are yet to lose a match in Lauderhill, have three of the four highest totals at this ground, and have bowled out the opposition twice in three completed games. Ominous?

Perhaps the one factor that could come to Bangladesh’s aid is the crowd in Lauderhill; the local population has a strong subcontinental presence. The expatriates have already turned up in droves in South Florida for the double-header, meaning that Bangladesh’s first international match in the USA will likely have the feeling of a home game.

West Indies (probable): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Andre Fletcher, 3 Andre Russell, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Carlos Brathwaite (capt), 8 Keemo Paul, 9 Ashley Nurse, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Kesrick Williams

Soumya Sarkar has been in miserable form in domestic cricket, and his inclusion in the squad was only as a result of the management’s plea. He would undoubtedly be under the scanner, with Mosaddek Hossain being the prime candidate to replace him.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Liton Das, 2 Tamim Iqbal, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Ariful Haque, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Mustafizur Rahman, 10 Nazmul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain

The last completed game in Lauderhill produced a run-glut, with West Indies and India totaling 489 runs and both innings producing a century.

The weather has been quite warm, but it is likely to remain clear for both matches. (ESPNcricinfo)


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