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Execute your skills in do-or-die clash, Pooran tells Windies team-mates

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Sharjah, Oct 29 (IANS) Defending champions West Indies will get another opportunity to bounce back when they take on Bangladesh in an ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game later on Friday after having lost both their encounters, and batter Nicholas Pooran has asked his teammates to “execute” their skills.

The Kieron Pollard-led side has so far had an unforgettable outing, being crushed by England in the opening games and then losing to South Africa in Group 1 of ‘Super 12’.

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“It’s a good opportunity for us to bounce back. We’re not sure how Sharjah is going to play. But our focus is not on the small boundaries, to be honest. We just want to execute our skills. And once we can do that, then the results can take care of itself,” said Pooran.

Sharjah’s small boundaries could be a delight for the likes of Chris Gayle and Pollard but the dew factor and the toss could play a role in deciding the winner.

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After two losses in two games, West Indies find themselves bottom of the Group 1 table. Ahead of them are Bangladesh, who also have lost both their games, but have a better net run rate. Another loss for either team will bring a premature end to their hopes of finishing in the top two of the group and progressing to the semifinals.

West Indies’ concern going into this do-or-die clash is that their dangerous batting attack has failed to fire. They were bundled out for 55 against England, then limped to 143 against South Africa. The conditions in the UAE have not suited their style of attacking play. That they had to bat first in both matches didn’t help, especially since they prefer to chase.

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Teams have targeted them with spin early, and Bangladesh, who have an excellent spin attack, will be a threat. Given Bangladesh’s left-arm dominated attack, batters like Pooran, who match up well against it, might have an important role to play.

Bangladesh, whose T20 style is almost the opposite of the West Indies’ six-hitting formula, are also struggling in the UAE. They have been unable to put in a complete performance to take them across the line. The Powerplay, which has proved to be crucial in the tournament, has not been their strongest period.

It is a quick turnaround for them after the game against England, where they were restricted to 124/9. The teams have faced off 12 times in the format, with honours pretty even. West Indies have won six and Bangladesh five.

West Indies have Jason Holder coming into the squad in place of the injured Obed McCoy. Holder, who was in good touch in the IPL, may come into contention right away. The bigger changes, though, may be in the batting. With opener Lendl Simmons struggling against South Africa, West Indies might be tempted to bring Chris Gayle back to open, which is a position he has most success in.

Roston Chase could also get a game, playing an anchor role that allows the other batters to hit out. Although the Sharjah surface has proved to be tricky to bat on, the fact that it’s an afternoon game and the small boundaries might aid the West Indies’ power-hitters.

Bangladesh too might consider a change to their batting. Opener Liton Das has not built on starts, but the team’s concern is that Soumya Sarkar, who is another opening option, had been dropped earlier in the tournament for his poor numbers.

Shakib Al Hasan, despite his poor performance against England in the last game, cannot be ignored. He has scored 122 runs and chipped in with 11 wickets in five games played in the T20 World Cup so far. He has also taken 19 wickets at a bowling strike rate of 11.6 in 10 T20I innings against the West Indies.

Probable XI: Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (capt), Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo, Hayden Walsh, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul.

Probable XI: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah (capt), Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman.

–IANS

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