The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 26 , 2014
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Windies back on track

Dhaka: If the thought of dismissing the West Indies on the basis of their performance in the opening match did cross your mind, beware! The defending champions seem serious of becoming the first team to win consecutive World T20 titles.

There’s no doubt Chris Gayle’s form is a concern despite his run-a-ball 48 on Tuesday, and the middle-order has struggled. Yet they managed to wallop Bangladesh by 73 runs. The credit must go to their bowlers as Bangladesh were bundled out for 98. The victory will also boost West Indies’ net run-rate, which might prove to be decisive in the long run.

Samuel Badree’s unknown qualities are proving to be their trump card with the leg-spinner claiming four wickets to rattle Bangladesh’s top and middle-order. Left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie too performed his task to perfection.

If Badree can bowl well in tandem with the dangerous Sunil Narine, West Indies can hope to be a force to reckon with in these favourable conditions.

“We were a bit surprised by the reaction after the loss to India… But we stayed upbeat and this victory will make us more confident in the coming matches… We worked hard at the nets and the results are showing… Hope we go from strength to strength,” said Dwayne Smith.

“Many of our batsmen aren’t in the best of form. Around five/ six players are struggling to get going… This has been a major disadvantage and is adding to the pressure… All this has reflected in the team’s fielding,” Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim tried to reason after the defeat.

West Indies, too, need to take a close look at themselves. Gayle’s form remains a concern, which could prove to be vital in their quest for success. Two matches in the World T20 may be too early to predict, but indications aren’t encouraging.

After a tentative 33 off 34 balls against India, Gayle hardly looked his usual self, repeatedly struggling with the timing. More alarmingly, the innings included 21 dot balls. Against tougher opposition like Australia and Pakistan, his indecisive methods could be disastrous.

After pushing and prodding to 26 off 35 balls in the 15th over, he stepped on the accelerator. A four and a six in the 17th over from Shakib-al Hasan improved his strike-rate before another attempt to clear the long off ropes led to his downfall.

That West Indies still managed to score 171 was mainly due to the efforts of Smith, who hit 72. If Gayle appeared circumspect, there was no stopping Smith. He hoisted the bowlers over the infield and mercilessly pulled the short ones to maintain a run-rate of around eight an over. The 97-run opening partnership laid the foundation with no major contribution coming down the order.

One significant improvement in their innings was the batsmen’s inclination to rotate the strike. However hard coach Ottis Gibson might try to defend their big-hitting ways, there was a change in their approach.

There were only 17 boundaries and five sixes in the innings. Even Gayle seemed eager to go for the singles and keep the pressure on the fielders.

A dramatic last over by Al-Amin Hossain, which included four dismissals including a run-out, stopped West Indies on their tracks. The batsmen have to share much of the blame as their adventurous ways contributed to the doom.