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Battered hosts seek series parity

by   •  Last updated on 2020-04-20 04:37:25

After sealing series wins in the Tests and ODIs, Bangladesh would have least expected the kind of assault that they faced in Sylhet in the opening T20I. Although the pitch was fairly good to bat on, there was a common talk that the home bowlers might be able to make a fist of the below par total. However, Windies batted as only as they can, with mindless freedom, literally destroying every bowler who came at them, making a mockery of the run chase. The approach of some of Bangladesh's batsmen was under the scanner and skipper Shakib Al Hasan minced no words at the post-match presentation ceremony. He himself wasn't flawless, mixing some flashy strokes with calculated hitting but importantly, managed to stick in there.

Bangladesh's form in the shortest format has been a concern, with only five wins from their previous 21 encounters spread across the last two years. The batting has been the main culprit, as it was in the last game, often misreading the pitch or not assessing the track enough to give their bowlers a chance. In Sylhet, the top order were in a hurry against some fiery pace bowling from Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell, perishing in the process. Losing a clump of early wickets never helps in T20 cricket and that brought about the hosts' downfall. More maturity and better shot selection is what they would be looking forward to, in the batting.

The Windies had the perfect game with the bowlers doing the job, backed up by some ruthless batting. While they have no concerns as such, the conditions in Dhaka could test them more. The surfaces for the next two matches are expected to be much drier, bringing the spinners into play. In such a scenario, the visitors' pace attack aren't likely to get much help and that could also mean adding another spinner to the ranks. The slower and drier pitches would be perfectly in sync with Bangladesh's plans, especially their batsmen who aren't always comfortable against genuine pace.

Shai Hope's incredible 2018 just keeps getting better and the Windies will hope that he continues to get going at the top of the order. If the surfaces aren't straightforward to bat on, his role could be more important. For Bangladesh, on paper, there isn't much to choose between the two sides but the hosts' recent T20I form does put them under pressure. The Windies aren't any better, especially over the last 12 months when they've struggled a lot even in this format. However, they do have players who are naturally tuned to T20, which does give them some respite.

Bangladesh will need an improved show from their top order if they are to draw level in Dhaka. With the pitches likely to be slower and better for batting, they should feel more confident than they did on the slightly quicker and bouncier Sylhet surface. For the tourists, the match result will depend on how their batsmen adapt to the conditions. Unlike the series opener, the upcoming games are late afternoon matches and this makes the toss slightly more vital because dew could be a factor.

What: Bangladesh vs Windies, 2nd T20I, 20th December, 17:00 local time

Where: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka

What to expect: Sylhet provided a free-stroking surface that had true bounce and decent pace on it. Considering that the Windies enjoyed that, it's likely that Dhaka will have drier surfaces that could be slower but decent to bat on. Expect dew to play a role.

Team news:

Bangladesh: With the Dhaka pitch expected to assist spinners, they could be tempted to draft in Nazmul Islam to bolster the slow-bowling resources. Rubel Hossain is also expected to return to the XI.

Windies: The tourists don't have a reason to change their XI but the pace-heavy strategy isn't likely to work in Dhaka. They might opt to play an extra spinner in the young Khary Pierre.

What they said:

"I just think that it is just the nature of the game that you try to match aggression with aggression. I am not worried about the way they played the short ball. I think it was overconfidence, trying to fight fire with fire. Sometimes you have to deflect more than attack." - Bangladesh's batting consultant Neil McKenzie

"Very good win but it's only one game. We have started with a win before and then gone on to lose the series in recent times. So, it's important to be respectful of the opposition." - Windies captain Carlos Brathwaite

Squads:

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan(c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Hider Rony, Ariful Haque, Mustafizur Rahman

Windies:Carlos Brathwaite(c), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Kesrick Williams, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Shai Hope, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas