Windies, Bangladesh clash in first ODI today at Providence

West Indies head coach Stuart Law makes a point to opener Evin Lewis. (Adrian Narine photos)

… Both captains upbeat of positive results

IN a battle of the two lowly placed teams in One Day Internationals (ODI) cricket, hosts West Indies and Bangladesh will clash in the first of three ODIs today at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.

Bangladesh are currently No.7 in the ICC’s ODI rankings, while the West Indies lanquish in the 9th spot with 24 ranking points separating the sides.

But after drubbing Bangladesh in the longest format of the game in the just concluded two-Test series, West Indies will now look to extend their dominance.

Jason Holder (left) and Mashrafe Mortaza

Captain Jason Holder at a pre-match press conference yesterday said keeping the winning momentum would be crucial as they look to clinch another series win against the tourists.

He believed that his team is more than ready to challenge the visitors.

“The mood in the camp is pretty good, obviously we had some time off from the last ODI series but everybody has played some form of cricket of recent, so everybody is ready to go and hopefully we can start the series well here in Guyana,” the West Indies skipper opined.

While the Caribbean side has been on a rampant run against the tourists, Holder feels execution will be key, since the visitors are a better ODI team.

West Indies last featured in an ODI in March 2018 at the ICC CWC Qualifier in Zimbabwe, where they beat every other team they faced in that tournament, except Afghanistan who got the better of them twice including the final.

Holder feels consistency in this format of the game is a big concern, and as such the improvement in all three departments must be lifted.

On the flipside, the visitors have been outplayed in all three facets of the game and they have not been able to push Caribbean men at all in the Test series. They lost both Tests inside six days combined and not being able to play out even 50 overs clearly reflect the struggles the Bangladeshi batsmen have had.

However, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, whose return is a big boost for the team ahead of the clash, pointed out that his team must put the Test series behind and focus on a complete turnaround ahead of the ODI series.

“Basically we were outplayed in the Tests but we have a few new faces come in and join the side, so hopefully we will play good cricket over here. The combination is very good and hopefully we can do well tomorrow (today),” he said.

Mortaza is also wary of West Indies firepower, especially at the top of the order. Windies batting strength resides mainly in Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis, who have been one of the world’s most devastating opening pairs in this format.

Shimron Hetmyer had an impressive outing with a knock of 86 in the second Test and if openers fail, he will be their key batsmen in the middle.

The Bangladesh team during their training yesterday

“The West Indies top order especially the openers we all know they go heavy and it is very difficult but we have to be positive’ we have to do what we can do and obviously do the right things … bowl in the right areas, bowling in their weaknesses, and once we could restrict them to 250-260, which I feel could be a good score, we definitely stand a great chance,” Mortaza revealed.

Today’s match bowls off at 09:30hrs, which marks the return of international cricket to Guyana since April 2017, where the Caribbean side lost the three-match ODI series 1-2 to Pakistan.

The second ODI is scheduled for Wednesday, a day/night affair, the first in Guyana. Bangladesh last toured the Caribbean in August/September in 2014 when the hosts swept the Tests and ODIs before the lone T20 was abandoned due to rain.

West Indies squad reads: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Ashley Nurse and Jason Mohammed.

Bangladesh squad reads: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Nazmul Islam, Anamul Haque, Abu Jayed, Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Abu Hider Rony.