West Indies' Chris Gayle (left) and Bangladesh's wicketkeeper Liton Das kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the start of the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: It’s tough to watch the West Indies struggle in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The two-time winners and defending champions should be strutting around the park. Instead, they are fighting to survive. They survived against Bangladesh by the skin of their teeth on Friday. And that wasn’t a pretty sight.

Well, the pitch wasn’t conducive to strokeplay for their cavalier brand of cricket. But most West Indians ply their craft in T20 leagues worldwide. They would have encountered all types of pitches and different kinds of attacks. And would have learned to cope and thrive. And that experience came in handy when the match went to the wire. Yet, it wasn’t champion stuff.

Lacked bounce

The Sharjah pitch was slow and lacked bounce. Scoring square of the wicket was difficult. With the ball not coming to the bat, lofted shots down the field too were fraught with risk.

To their credit, the West Indies handled it well, although they scored at a snail’s pace. The selection of Roston Chase helped; he was able to link the powerplay with the middle overs. Chase was around till the slog overs. And that allowed Nicholas Pooran to indulge in some power-hitting.

Jason Holder came as a replacement, and he couldn’t have come in at a better time. He clobbered a couple of sixes in the final over and was the best West Indian bowler with 1-22 off four overs.

The band-aids helped West Indies against Bangladesh. But that’s not enough and won’t take them far into the tournament. Their displays have lacked authority. They are a batting powerhouse, and that advertisement has worn thin. Nobody will believe them unless they have the runs to back it up.

Slim chances

Bowling today was restrictive on a pitch that helped bowlers but never menacing enough to run through the Bangladesh side. West Indies may win a few games, but a spot in the semifinals looks a mirage.

With the third loss in three matches, Bangladesh’s chances are slim, although a mathematical possibility exists. That would be hoping against hope. They bowled well on a helpful wicket, but their batting never threatened. They were clueless in the powerplays.

The match may been decided on the last ball, but it didn’t have to be. If Bangladesh batsmen had shown some urgency ahead of the slog, the match wouldn’t have reached the final over. That’s the beauty of a chase.