West Indies vs Bangladesh: First T20 Preview

Cricket ball and bails on field

The West Indies and Bangladesh will switch their attention to the shortest format of the game following the Test and ODI legs of the tour. 

The transition from Test cricket to the ODI format favoured Bangladesh, but as the bilateral series shifts to the shortest format, the reigning World T20 champions will resume the mantle of favourites.

In their most recent T20I outing, Bangladesh were completely outclassed by Afghanistan in a three-match series whitewash, leaving them with just two wins in the format in 10 matches this year.

West Indies vs Bangladesh | Wednesday, 1 August | Warner Park, St Kitts | 02:30

West Indies 11/20
Tie 35/1
Bangladesh 31/20   

West Indies
The West Indies have made progress in their bid to bring T20 guns for hire Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and the Bravo brothers back into the fold, but they may have to do without the superstars until after the Caribbean Premier League.

Even without those big names, the West Indies have an enviable strength in depth in the format driven by the success of the CPL and the demand for Caribbean cricketers in high-profile T20 leagues.

Andre Russell has been a standout performer in the format since returning from a year-long ban imposed on him by the ICC for doping. Russell set the IPL alight this season, looking in great form with bat and ball. The West Indies will be sweating on his fitness, though, after he missed the final two ODIs with a knee injury.

Shimron Hetmyer has pressed his case for a T20I recall with sublime form in the Test and ODI series against Bangladesh. Should he be selected, he would dearly love to erase the memory of his twin failures in New Zealand earlier this year.

Veterans Carlos Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels are understood to be available for selection, having played a part in the West Indies victory over the World XI in their last match.

Leg-spinner Samuel Badree is highly likely to retain his place after he returned figures of two for four against the World XI at Lord's.

The Windies have shown great faith in the potential of Rovman Powell, but patience will be running thin as he has failed to translate his ability into consistent performance.

The tourists will get their first look at T20I specialist Kesrick Williams, who will be keen to add a few Bangladesh names to his infamous invisible notebook. Williams could form a potent attack alongside Russell and ODI and Test skipper Jason Holder, who should be recalled.

The weather looks set to be fair throughout the contest that starts after sunset on St Kitts.

Bangladesh have not been able to put their best foot forward in the shortest format due to injuries to star players like Mustafizur Rahman.

The 'Fizz', as Rahman is affectionately known, comes back into the team and will be hoping to recreate his stunning form in the Indian Premier League that helped guide the Sunrisers Hyderabad all the way to the 2018 final.

Shakib Al Hasan's return to the team that faced Afghanistan in Dehradun did little to arrest the team's slide in T20I cricket. Shakib was economical with the ball in two of the three matches, but failed to contribute with the bat.

The bright spots for the Tigers with willow in hand in T20 cricket have been Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mahmudullah.

Mushfiqur has proven to be the most consistent of the top-order men, while Mahmudullah's heroics against Sri Lanka helped Bangladesh win a hot-tempered tri-series match and book a place in the Nidahas Trophy final, which they lost to India after a brilliant performance from Dinesh Karthik. Mushfiqur has scored 359 runs in 10 T20Is and, along with Mahmudullah and Nazmul Islam, has played every T20I match for Bangladesh in 2018.

Tamim Iqbal needs to bring his ODI form to the shortest format after a mediocre display in 2018 so far. He has scored just one 50 in nine attempts this year, but has still maintained the third highest average for Bangladesh behind Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah.

Soumya Sarkar was included in the squad at the request of the team management, with Steve Rhodes and company seeing something the selectors did not.

In the bowling department, Rubel Hossain will look to continue his good form of late and link up with stalwarts Mustafizur and Nazmul, whose economy rate of just 6.59 run per over has made him one of the first names on the T20I team sheet this term.

The sluggish wicket at Warner Park will offer Bangladesh a chance in the opening game that they may not be afforded when the series moves to Lauderhill in Florida for the final two matches.

Verdict: West Indies *FORECAST BETTING
Bangladesh will take some confidence from the ODI series win, but the shortening of the game will only serve to minimise the West Indies' batting deficiencies while exaggerating the tourists' issues.  

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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