By Sean Devers
West Indies should expect their biggest crowd support when they face-off with Bangladesh in the sixth and penultimate under-19 ODI at Albion from 09:00hrs today as the home team, who trail 3-2 in the series, attempt a come-from-behind series win.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie is on his home ground while fellow Berbician Shemron Hetmyer and Guyanese first class left hander Tagenarine Chanderpaul could open the batting today.
Opener Leroy Lugg began with a half-century but his form has tailed off badly as the series has progressed and the attacking Hetymer should be the perfect foil at the top of the order for Chanderpaul, who has his father’s (Shiv Chanderpaul) temperament and should be the one designated to bat deep into the innings.
Chanderpaul’s responsible 51 in the last match has been the only half-century score apart from Lugg for the home team who fell for a record low 88 in 3rd ODI as the spinners have tormented the West Indian teenagers in every match so far.
If the injured Jeremy Solozano returns to the side today he will strengthen the home team’s ability to cope with the Bangladeshi’s spinners, an aspect of their cricket that they have badly struggled with, especially when they seem incapable of using their feet to get close to the flighted deliveries.
Nicholas Pooran, Tristan Coleman, Fabian Allen and Skipper Ramaal Lewis are expected to lend support with the bat on what should be another low and slow surface.
A positive is that conditions in Bangladesh where the West Indies are scheduled to tour at the end of the year and in Dubai where the next under-19 World Cup will be played next year are similar to Guyana and this tour is virtually trial matches for West Indies World Cup selection.
In spin friendly conditions, the West Indian spinners, even Motie-Kanhai, who captured the most wickets in this year’s Regional under-19 series in St Kitts, have not been able to match the prodigious turn extracted by the visitors and their mode off attack has been basically defence.
The straw-coloured local tracks have offered little assistance to the fast bowlers although Vincentian Ray Jordon bowled with plenty of hostility and rapped a few batsmen on their helmets with bouncers.
Grenadian left-arm pacer Preston McSween had a four-wicket haul in the last game which West Indies, who began the series with a victory, won by 67 runs.
Marquino Mindley, Jofa Archer, Jerome Jones and Alzarri Joseph are the other pacers in the squad and have been rotated in the matches since the West Indies squad is an 18-member one.
Uddin Jashim is the leading run scorer for both teams so far and his 233 runs is only one of three batsmen with more than 200 runs. The others are Sadman Anik (216) and Mossadek Saikat (214) while Nazmul Shanto has also scored a half-century for the visitors.
Skipper Mehedi Miraj is the leading all-rounder in the tournament. His off-spin has earned him 10 wickets, four less than the leading wicket taker leg-spinner Likhon Zubair who has the only hat trick so far in the series. Miraj has also contributed 106 runs with the bat.
According to reports the Albion ground is in top condition and lights should soon be installed and like they often do in the Berbice, a large crowd is anticipated for the only game of the series not being played on a week day.
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