Having recently claimed the World T20 trophy, the West Indies return to 50 over action this week and will be confident of an emphatic series win against struggling Bangladesh (2.30am GMT, Friday).
Many are predicting a one sided contest in this opening game in Khulna but Darren Sammy’s men won’t be underestimating the hosts who have some dangerous performers in their line-up.
There are some notable absentees from both squads due to injuries and the return of the lucrative Big Bash league in Australia but the Windies retain the core of their Limited Overs side. Chris Gayle heads the batting order and while the Jamaican was relatively subdued in the recent test series, he will undoubtedly be an important part of the one day games.
Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard complete a powerful batting order but one man who won’t feature is Dwayne Bravo. The all rounder plays a vital role for this side in one day cricket and his absence definitely weakens the team and gives Bangladesh some hope.
The West Indian bowling attack also looks strong with the inclusion of match winner Sunil Narine who is hard to score runs against, even when he isn’t taking wickets. Kemar Roach has returned from injury to bolster the pace attack but Sammy won’t be able to call upon Tino Best, who returned career best figures in the second test but picked up a grade one hamstring injury in the process.
As for Bangladesh, their batting relies heavily on the power hitting of Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order and although the remainder of the batsmen are starting to take more responsibility, the hosts only tend to win when Tamim has performed.
There is one key name missing from the Bangladesh squad and that is Shakib Al Hasan who will miss the first two games of the series with a shin injury. Shakib has developed into a world class limited overs player who fetches big money in the IPL auctions and the gap is likely to prove impossible for Mushfiqur Rahim and his side to fill.
Shakib is primarily a batsman but his absence will be felt in the bowling attack too where his slow left arm generally proves economical and picks up vital wickets. Much will therefore depend on a young set of bowlers with little experience at this level.
Selection policy may not have helped the Bangladesh cause either as the promising Elias Sunny has been omitted from the squad. Sunny has been part of the One Day set-up since 2011 and he took five wickets on T20 debut against Ireland yet he won’t feature in the first game at least.
Overall, you can expect Bangladesh to win one game in this series but it’s likely to be a dead rubber further along the line. For now, the hosts’ absentees should help to make this a comfortable opening victory for Darren Sammy’s side.