Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - West Indies face trial by spin in complicated bid for survival. A week-and-a-half into the Super 12s at the T20 WC, West Indies find their reputation on the line.
A week-and-a-half into the Super 12s at the T20 WC, West Indies find their reputation on the line.
A week-and-a-half into the Super 12s at the T20 WC, West Indies find their reputation on the line. The defending champions, the two-time winners, theentertainers have played the sort of cricket that's not worthy of any of those aforementioned titles, even if the close win against Bangladesh three days ago keeps a faint pulse going in their shoddy campaign so far.
The 55 all-out against England may have been an aberration but in the absence of true surfaces, West Indian batters have struggled in the other two fixtures too. Unfortunately for the misfiring top-order, their biggest challenge is ahead of them. If the pressures of keeping up with complicated semi-final scenarios wasn't enough, they now face their toughest spin challenge of the tournament so far against Sri Lanka.
For an impressive but knocked out Sri Lanka, the weight's probably off the shoulders in what will be their last outing of the tournament on Thursday. But, there's still a little more than just pride or a winning end to play for.
Head coach Mickey Arthur was glowing in his praise for the squad's young core and their bright future in the format, which they can go a long way in strengthening if they get the better of West Indies. As of November 1, Sri Lanka are 10th in the ICC T20I rankings with 230 rating points while West Indies are eighth with 234. The game against the title holders will be Sri Lanka's final opportunity to improve their rankings before the November 15 cut-off. The top-eight teams as of that date will get a direct entry into the Super 12 stage of next year's T20 WC in Australia.
When: West Indies vs Sri Lanka, Super 12 Group 1, 18:00 Local, 19:30 IST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: Another venue with conditions that screams ‘bat first at your own peril'. Barring Pakistan's 189/2 and Afghanistan's 160/5 – both against Namibia – nothing has been defendable here in the Super 12s. Worse still, no other team batting first has got anywhere close to the 150-run mark.
West Indies, who are just about alive in the race to the semis, will hope for their fortunes at the toss to turn. They've lost all three tosses in this campaign so far and have had to bat first. Pollard's side has struggled to impose its gung-ho approach on these spin-friendly, two-paced surfaces.
T20I head to head: West Indies 7 – 7 Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka have won 5 of the 7 encounters between the two in T20 WCs, though West Indies have a 4-1 tally in the format since the last edition of the event in 2016.
Injured/Unavailable:Kieron Pollard, who struggled with a niggle in the previous game, trained in the last couple of days and said he was feeling ‘pretty okay' a day out from the Sri Lanka fixture. The expectation is for him to pull through and feature in the crucial fixture.
Tactics & Match-ups: Sri Lanka's spin bowling has been thoroughly impressive, but the pacers have not been able to live up to the lofty standards. In fact, Sri Lanka pacers are the only ones to go at over nine-an-over in the Super 12s. The numbers from Sri Lanka's game against England should give West Indies a fair idea of who they need to target with the bat:
England vs SL spinners: 34/3 in 8 overs (ER 4.25); England vs SL pacers: 128/1 in 12 overs (ER 10.67)
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Nicholas Pooran, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul
Injured/Unavailable: There are no forced changes expected but Sri Lanka could be tempted to bring in Akila Dananjaya to torment West Indies' left-hander heavy top-order.
Tactics & Match-ups: Dananjaya picked a hat-trick against West Indies earlier this year – dismissing three left-handers in Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran. Dananjaya also has favourable match-up numbers against Evin Lewis, conceding 20 runs to him in 15 deliveries and getting him out twice. Wanindu Hasranga meanwhile, has had the better of Kieron Pollard during their duels in the format – conceding only 19 runs in 17 balls and dismissing the WI captain once. He has also troubled Simmons (11 runs in 19 balls and two dismissals), who lost his spot in WI's previous fixture.
Probable XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera(w), Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Avishka Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka(c), Chamika Karunaratne/Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara
Did You Know:
– With 224 runs and 14 wickets, Dwayne Bravo is West Indies' leading run-getter and wicket-taker vs Sri Lanka in T20Is
– West Indies have the second-lowest batting average and have scored at lesser than run-a-ball in the tournament
– Wanindu Hasaranga has picked 14 wickets and scored 119 runs in the tournament so far
What They Said:
“He just excites me. Every time I see him with a ball or see him with a bat or in the field, he excites me as a cricketer. He's a wonderful one. We've just got to keep supporting him because he's a wonderful, wonderful player at the moment. He's riding a crest of a wave. He's in good form. He's a confident player. His confidence is sky high. And I just get really excited for what he's going to achieve for Sri Lankan cricket down the line.” – Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur on Wanindu Hasaranga
“The conditions, in all honesty, some of the pitches are good. Some have been pitches where there's something for the bowlers and batters. And as batters we've had to adjust. Because of the nature of T20 cricket sometimes you don't have the time to adjust. I just think it is a matter of assessing that as quickly as possible and try to play the right shots as quickly as possible. The pitches have not been outrageously bad. It has been good cricketing wickets but it has been challenging and it is not only us as a team that has struggled. Different world class players around the world have struggled as well. But they've just found the rhythm to compound everything together and get a respectable total. We haven't been able to cross the 143-barrier. Sometimes that's just not enough.” –Kieron Pollard on his team's batting struggles.