Preview: Having lost the deciding ODI of the three-match series against Bangladesh at Sylhet on Friday, a wounded Windies will look to make a winning start to the three-match T20I series at the same venue on Monday (December 16). West Indies showed some fight during the second ODI to level the series 1-1, but the hosts were at their dominant best during the series decider and duly took home the trophy. The Windies showed, however, that they are not to do be taken lightly in limited overs cricket and the reigning T20I world champions will fancy their chances in the shortest format of the game.
They had a full training session ahead of the match even as the hosts chose to rest and will be buoyed by the return of Evin Lewis to the squad. ‘Must Learn to Win Consistently’ However, even Lewis’ return will probably not paper over the fact that the Windies are still a side in transition and often put up inconsistent displays. Mushtaq Ahmed, who has joined the Windies coaching squad as the spin consultant, believes the team consists of good players but they need to learn how to win on a regular basis. “Those guys are in the process of learning. They won the Bangladesh series back home. So it’s just a matter of winning a couple of good games,” Ahmed said ahead of the match. “And because we won the second ODI – overall those guys are very good cricketers. They just need to know the method of winning more consistently.”
That has indeed been the case for the Windies during their last two tours. They won just the single ODI against India earlier this year and did the same against Bangladesh in the recently-concluded series. However, the nature of the T20 format is best suited to the kind of attacking batting the Windies partake in, meaning the hosts can ill-afford to take them lightly. ‘Format They Know Well’ Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes stated that his team won’t be taking the opposition lightly at all, adding that he expected some form of backlash from the visitors. “I think the West Indies, with some new players who have arrived here, will be a tough opposition. It’s the format that they know very well. We will give it our best shot. They always do, the boys.” “They are hurting again, like all teams that you play against and if you win, you can expect some sort of a backlash.” Yet while the Windies will be a tough challenge in the T20Is, the home team has plenty of firepower in their squad and are always a threat in home conditions. The second and third T20Is will take place on December 20 and 22, respectively.