Venue: Windsor Park, Dominica
Date: Saturday, 2 July
It is time for countries like the West Indies and Bangladesh to begin to aim toward the T20 World Cup that is coming up in Australia in October. There isn’t much form to speak of here as the two countries have shied away from the 20-over format in international cricket over the last few months. The West Indies’ last T20 I was back in February, while their visitors here last swung a T20 bat in March.
The West Indies whitewashed Bangladesh 2-0 in the two-Test series immediately preceding these three T20Is. They were comfortable victories too, the first being by seven wickets with the WIndies easily chasing 88 runs to win and the second being an even bigger domination.
The Windies won that Test in Saint Lucia by 10 wickets. They needed just 13 runs to win in their second innings and not even three overs had passed before they reached that total. While T20 is a different game, one aspect that Bangladesh must figure out in the short rest between the two formats is their fielding. It was abject in the Tests, with too many runs given up and potential wickets missed by mistakes in the field that this team should be good enough to not have happen.
There have been some pretty major changes in the Windies team from their last match playing this format of the game. Five of the 16 in the squad from last time are missing as the Windies look for the right balance to take with them to the T20 World Cup.
They will miss Kieron Pollard (retired from international cricket) while Jason Holder also misses out as he has been rested. One player to watch for from those who will be playing here is vice-captain Rovman Powell. He was incredibly impressive in the IPL this season and has the right traits to take over a T20 game on any given day.
They were vastly outclassed in the Tests but the short form games are where Bangladesh was expected to be more competitive during this tour. Injuries are certainly an issue – any team without batsman Yasir Ali, pacer Shohidul Islam, and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin would struggle – but there is hope in the Bangladeshi camp that their form can turn a corner here.
The other unknown quantity here will be the wicket at Windsor Park. This is a venue that has seen zero cricket because of the Covid-19 pandemic that this will be the first match back on the wicket since the West Indies played Pakistan five years ago. There is no way of knowing how the wicket will react to the ball as there just hasn’t been any play on which to judge the bounce and spin.
Regardless of how the pitch plays – and I expect it to be fast with the ball carrying hard off of the wicket – it is hard to see any result other than a Windies win given Bangladesh’s injuries and general lack of form. Back the home side here.