Bangladesh vs West Indies preview: Can the underdogs pull off another heist?

West Indies (L) Bangladesh (R) © Getty Images

The 17th match of the ongoing World Cup will see the West Indies square off against Nigar Sultana’s Bangladesh at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Friday, March 18. The game holds a lot of significance for both sides as they are still in the race for the semi-finals.

What’s at stake

After getting off to an absolute fairy tale beginning to their World Cup campaign, the West Indies ran into two sides that vanquished them with ease. And the two losses have pegged their net run rate back a fair bit. Despite two wins in four matches, their net run rate is -1.233 and can impede their chances of a potential semi-final berth. However, three wins in their remaining games will propel the side from the Caribbean into the semi-finals. If they only manage two in three, then their poor net run rate can adversely affect their chances. 

Keeping a side motivated in a tournament like the World Cup is a tough ask. And becomes tougher if you aren’t performing your role to the best of your ability. Stafanie Taylor had three ordinary games on the trot but the game against Australia saw her notch up a half-century. And it was probably the only positive for the side in the drubbing they faced in the last game. Taylor’s side’s over-reliance on its big players like Hayley Matthews, Deandra Dottin and Anisa Mohammed is not obscure to anyone. And that could hurt them against Bangladesh, who are on a high after their historic win over Pakistan. 

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The fact that Bangladesh do not stack up that well against the Windies is certainly a talking point. But Bangladesh are competing in their first-ever World Cup and there’s nothing to lose. Nigar Sultana’s side was phenomenal in the last game as they put up a team performance. 

The leg-spinning duo of former captains in Rumana Ahmed and Fahima Khatun was brilliant. They are two of the most experienced players that Bangladesh have and will again play a crucial role tomorrow. 

Both Matthews and Dottin have played well against seamers in the ongoing World Cup but haven’t faced much of spin. And that’s where it can get interesting. If Nigar uses both her ace leg-spinners up front against the West Indian openers, then that might increase their chances of pulling off their biggest heist.

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The Bangladeshi top-order looked good in the last game but will they be able to stand firm against the might of Shamilia Connell, Anisa Mohammed and Hayley Matthews remains to be seen.

Bangladesh have grabbed many eyeballs by virtue of their fighting spirit against South Africa and their impressive display against Pakistan. And if they manage to neutralise the big names in the West Indian side, then that may well set the cat among the pigeons.

What they said:

We just got to stick to our game. And we are not going to just dwell on what they’re doing that much. We need to stick to our game plan.

–  Shamilia Connell on her team’s plan against Bangladesh.

“Obviously it was a fantastic match. It was a great pleasure to get our first World Cup win. But we want to move forward. And we want to take all the positives from the last match and implement it tomorrow.”

–  Nigar Sultana on the mood in the camp after their historic win over Pakistan.

Players to watch out for:

Deandra Dottin: The firebrand allrounder has looked good with both bat and ball but hasn’t managed to cash in. She was on her way to a big score in the game against India but eventually got out for 62. But the way she has been timing the ball indicates that she is due for a big one. 

Fahima Khatun: The 29-year old leg-break bowler was in her elements in the last game. She took a three-wicket haul to help Bangladesh get off the mark. And given that the West Indians haven’t faced much spin thus far and will look to go after her makes her chances of succeeding tomorrow greater.

Predicted XI:

West Indies: Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Kycia Knight, Stafanie Taylor (c), Shemaine Campbelle (wk), Chedean Nation, Aaliyah Alleyne, Chinelle Henry, Shakera Selman, Anisa Mohammed, Shamilia Connell

Bangladesh: Shamima Sultana (wk), Sharmin Akhter, Fargana Hoque, Nigar Sultana (c), Rumana Ahmed, Ritu Moni, Salma Khatun, Fahima Khatun, Nahida Akter, Jahanara Alam, Fariha Trisna