Dubai: The West Indies need to pull out all stops to keep their title defence alive in the do-or-die clash Super-12 against Sri Lanka In the Twenty20 World Cup at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The mavericks from the Caribbean islands, who are ideally suited for this brand of cricket, have faced an even worse situation against England in the final of the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup in Kolkata. Needing 24 off the last over, Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to pull off a sensational win.
But during that campaign, they were outstanding from the start, suffering a single loss against Afghanistan in the league phase. The West Indies defeated India in the semi-finals before edging out England.
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Things are a lot different this time around. While England continued from where they left off, winning all four games so far, West Indies have a lone win in three games, defeating a misfiring Bangladesh by a narrow three-run margin. In the six-team Group 1, West Indies occupy the fifth spot and a win in tomorrow’s game give them a mathematical chance to sneak in if they also win the next game against Australia.
The West Indies team still have the fire power in the batting, but has not been even half lived up to its potential. They will be up against a young Sri Lankan team that have some very interesting bowling options, led by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.
Opener Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa are among the runs and the team could have been in a better position had they not lost in the penultimate ball to South Africa in the previous encounter. Their impressive batting against one of the best bowling attacks in this tournament should give them the confidence against the West Indians.
The last few games in Abu Dhabi are proving to be high-scoring contests and one hopes the fireworks continue to the cricket field on Thursday as well.