West Indies vs United Arab Emirates: There was a time when West Indies wrecked havoc on their opponents in the World Cup and now they have to fight it out for a spot in the same competition.
The two times World Champions will be playing their first match of the tournament against the United Arab Emirates who started off their campaign with a big win against Papua New Guinea at Harare Sports Club, Harare. West Indies, who narrowly escaped the embarrassment a few days earlier against the same opponent will not take things lightly. UAE, on the other hand, will draw inspiration from their Warm Up match performance and will be confident of making it two in two and solidify their position in the points table.
PITCH AND TOSS
Harare’s surface could be on a little slower side and with so many games being played here, batting second could be difficult here. It will get tougher to score as the game progresses and ball softens up especially in a day game where dew isn’t a factor in the second innings. We expect the team winning the toss to bat first.
WEST INDIES in West Indies vs United Arab Emirates
West Indies are playing with their full-fledged squad after a considerably long time. The last time they did it in an ICC event, they won it. It was the ICC World T20 2017 held in India. While the format was different, the stakes were different, and the team was different, the flair and charisma for which the Windies is known for are still the same.
Captained by Jason Holder, this West Indies team can do wonders on their day. Their top order consists of Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle at the top of the order followed by the likes of Marlon Samuels, Shai Hope, and Jason Mohammed. They have an abundance of multi-talented players with Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holders to name a few.
Nikita Miller and Ashley Nurse performed well in their warm-up match against the same team and could be an important pillar of the team considering the nature of tracks in Zimbabwe. Although this West Indies’ team doesn’t look as intimidating as it does in the shortest format, they have match-winners at their disposal who can escalate things quickly. With a good blend of youth and experience, West Indies start as one of the favorites to win the competition not only this match.
Predicted Starting XI: Chris Gayle – Evin Lewis – Marlon Samuels – Shai Hope (wk) – Shimron Hetmyer – Rovman Powell – Jason Holder (c) – Carlos Brathwaite – Ashley Nurse – Keimar Roach – Nikita Miller.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES in West Indies vs United Arab Emirates
UAE will be pumped with their efforts against PNG where they sailed to a comfortable 56 runs victory. They even had the men from the Caribbean on the mat where their bowlers bowled beautifully to restrict the Windies to a paltry total of 115. Their batsmen, however, couldn’t last long enough to cause an upset in a game that wouldn’t have had any impact on the record-book but would have instilled a lot of belief among the players.
Their batsmen did a lot better in the opening game of the main event where they scored a total of 221 runs. Bowlers then went about their business and restricted PNG to 113 in a rain-affected match. Mohammed Naveed was the wrecker-in-chief who picked up five wickets for just 28 runs. Earlier, skipper Rohan Mustafa paired well with this opening partner to put on a 91-runs stand. Ashfaq Ahmed perished after getting to his fifty while Rohan Mustafa carried the innings forward before getting dismissed for 95.
Overall, UAE squad looks good with their bowling appearing to be a strong unit. Their bowling has troubled PNG and West Indies so far on this tour. If they can do it once again at Harare, we will be in for a classic Qualifier game.
Predicted Starting XI: Rohan Mustafa (c) – Ashfaq Ahmed – Ghulam Shabber (wk) – Ramee Shahzad – Shaiman Anwar – Adnan Mufli – Muhammad Usman – Ahmed Raza – Amir Hayat – Imran Haider – Mohammad Naveed.
West Indies is one of the most unpredictable teams in the international circuit. They have the potential to beat the best on their day and then they have days which they’d like to forget. With Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels back in the reckoning, they certainly are stronger on paper and come in as favorites to win their first encounter of the tournament.