Much to the disappointment of the house-full crowd at the Shere Bangla Stadium, Bangladesh lost by 73 runs to the West Indies in their first Super 10 match of the World T20. It has some major implications for Group Two, while Group One isn’t quite straight forward either.
Player of the Day
There is no doubt that Dwayne Smith was the outstanding cricketer on the field in this contest. His performance was in sharp contrast to the match against India, despite the fact that Chris Gayle has been batting quite uncharacteristically at the other end.
Using the conditions well, Bangladesh started bowling much like India did. The only difference this time was that Smith was not playing half-hearted slogs. Rather, he was pinching singles and doubles, as if they had taken Suresh Raina’s advice from earlier in the week quite seriously.
Against India, the West Indies did not have a platform from which to launch their attack, something they were able to improve in this game thanks to the rotation of strike by their openers. Even as the big shots didn’t come until the end of the powerplay, the scoreboard kept ticking.
Once Smith opened up, there was no stopping him, taking the Windies past the 100-run mark in the 13th over. It is still later than you would expect from a hard-hitting batting line-up as the defending champions posses, but they are still only in second gear. There should be more to come as the tournament progresses.
The tournament is at the halfway stage. There are quite a few permutations and combinations possible at the moment, with none of the major teams out of contention at the moment. All of them are still in with a shot at the semi-finals.
Sri Lanka look good enough to top the group and their drumming of the Netherlands means that their run-rate is now hovering at +3.225.
Second best at this stage in the group is New Zealand and their run-rate is +0.276. Along with South Africa and England, they are yet to play the Dutch, and each of these sides will be going hammer and tongs to gain a run-rate advantage as well.
The Proteas are in an uneasy position at the moment. Despite the close victory against the Black Caps, they look a team in disarray but need to come together quickly and really need to make this one easy game count. This is because they finish their league matches one round ahead of the others. Alternately, it could yet play into the hands of South Africa, since New Zealand play Lanka last, a game that they might need to win to qualify.
In that way England are quite lucky because they play the Netherlands last, the same day New Zealand take on Sri Lanka. However, the English need to be still in contention by then.
At present, thanks to an unlucky rain-induced loss to the Kiwis, they face a must-win game against the strong Sri Lankans when action resumes in Chittagong on Thursday.
The hosts’ heavy loss to the defending champions means two things. One, the West Indies are back in contention after their own defeat to India. So much so that their run-rate placed at +1.752 soars above the Indians’ who are in first place in the points-table.
And two, Bangladesh are almost out of the competition, already, unless they can win all three of their remaining matches.
That will not be easy given India’s form, and desperation on part of both Australia and Pakistan to qualify.
The former are yet to register on the table after losing a close game to the latter, and they will look to kick-start their campaign on Friday when this group gets back on the field of play. They will play West Indies, India and then the Tigers, meaning they could yet exploit the hosts’ weakness and are in nearly the same position as England.
India are similar to South Africa in that their final league match finishes up one round ahead of other sides. However, they have done enough to virtually assure themselves of a first semi-final spot since the inaugural edition of 2007 in South Africa. If they win against Bangladesh on Friday, they will march on regardless of what happens in their final game.
Pakistan are not back in action until Sunday when they take on the hosts and after a week-long break, they will need to guard against complacency. If they can manage that task, while Australia clash with India, then things might just curry in their favour. They will feature in the last match of this group, against West Indies, and if all permutations go their way, the winner from that particular game might just be the second semi-finalist from this group of death.
© Cricket World 2014