West Indies vs Bangladesh: First ODI Preview

White Cricket Ball on Field

Jonhenry Wilson previews the first ODI between the West Indies and Bangladesh set to take place in Georgetown on Sunday. 

World Cup 2019 preparations begin in earnest for the West Indies with this series against a Bangladesh side that has, in recent years, surpassed them in ODI cricket.

In the Test matches, Bangladesh struggled to cope with the West Indies' quick bowling, but they will hope that the shortened format will close the gap between the two sides.
West Indies vs Bangladesh | Sunday 22 July | Providence Stadium, Georgetown | 15:30 

To Win Match 
West Indies 36/100
Tie 35/1
Bangladesh 43/20

West Indies 
The home side will have a pretty good idea of who is in the frame for next year's global showpiece, but there is still time for players to force their way into the reckoning.

All-rounder Andre Russell has been given an opportunity to prove his ODI credentials, earning a recall to the squad for the first time since November 2015. Since returning from his 12-month ban for violating doping regulations, Russell has found tremendous form in T20 cricket and the Windies will be keen for him to display his match-winning qualities.

Another West Indies stalwart with undeniable x-factor qualities is opener Evin Lewis. Seen as a natural replacement for the 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle up top, Lewis is one of the most exciting batsmen currently plying his trade in international cricket.

For now, Lewis will partner the so-called 'six machine' at the top of the order - and it seems likely that the veteran Gayle will remain available internationally until after the World Cup in England and Wales.

The home side have rested their star quicks - and will expect youngsters Alzarri Joseph and Keemo Paul to step up in the absence of Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach.

Left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell recovered from injury in time to be considered for this series, but has not been included yet, having just arrived back from Canada's Global T20.

Skipper Jason Holder will be central to the West Indies' hopes of doing well in this series, and beyond, providing top-class fast bowling and lower-order batting steel.

The hosts have several questions to answer with bat in hand as well. Shai Hope has not reached three figures in ODIs since his second match back in 2016. Reserve opener and top-order batsman Kieran Powell, meanwhile, hasn't reached an ODI half-ton since April 2017.

Consistency has been a real problem for the West Indies top order. Only Gayle averages above 40 among the current batsmen - and they relied heavily on their all-rounders to contribute runs in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe earlier this year.

The home side have a patchy record in ODIs in Guyana, where results tend to favour the team batting first.

Bangladesh 
After some speculation, Bangladesh's veteran skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has boarded a plane and made his way to the Caribbean to face the West Indies. Fitness concerns have been a constant for the seamer, who is in the twilight of his career, but he will be determined to lead this team for at least another year.

Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah Riyaz, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal represent a golden generation of Bangladesh cricketers eager to secure their legacy at next year's World Cup.

Even for stars like that though, there are no guarantees of a place in the World Cup - and the onus will be on them to carry the team forward with their performances.

The change from Tests to ODIs should bring the Bangladesh spinners into the game more, in a format where the value of taking the pace off has been clearly demonstrated.

Exciting fast bowling prospect Mustafizur Rahman returns as well, giving the Bangladesh bowling attack a gloss that was absent in the longest format.

Like their opponents, Bangladesh have struggled to find consistency with the bat and none of their top order have been able to maintain an average above 40.

Bangladesh famously beat the West Indies in an ODI series in the Caribbean back in 2009, but overall the record favours the home side massively with 19 wins in 28 matches.

It is expected to be hot with a chance of thunderstorms in Georgetown on Sunday.

Verdict: West Indies 
This will be a difficult series for Bangladesh, a long way from home, with a group of players struggling to find form, so it really is hard to see the tourists coming away with anything from the series opener.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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