They are a tough team, look balanced, have multiple match winners and are a strong contender to win this edition of ICC World Twenty20. Yet, amidst all this, a loss tonight and they could be boarding a flight back to the Caribbean. After losing to the Aussies last Saturday on , when it rained heavily at Premedasa, West Indies face a must win situation against Ireland. No doubt they’ll come hard at the Irish but in T20 cricket you never know, remember, no underdogs!
If we look at the other groups, they all are more or less decided. So we know which teams from those groups are going to be in the super eights, except may be a potential upset if Pakistan loses heavily to Bangladesh, though that seems highly unlikely; Pakistan has looked good. In group B however we are looking at this do or die game. The question to be asked is – Can West Indies handle these two tonight: ‘pressure of a must-win game’ and ‘the Irish zeal for glory’.
Well, if we compare the two sides and their current form, Windies are a clear winner. The way they batted against Australia was superb and if they can repeat that against Ireland they definitely are a huge challenge for the Iris. They have the big power players in the likes of Gayle, Smith, and Pollard along with the T20 specialist Bravo. Their bowling probably needs a bit of attention as against the Aussies their bowlers gave away too many easy runs. They have to mark their areas to ball; experimenting too much can be risky. They may also consider playing an extra bowler that can bring some balance to their bowling attack; currently they bank extremely heavily on Sunil Narine.
Irish on the other hand have nothing to lose. Though they too are aiming for a super eight spot, the amount of pressure on them in not as much. Even if they put up just about decent performance they should be happy on their way back home. But mind you, they are capable of more; England and Pakistan can tell you that from their past experiences :). Kevin O’Brien is one guy in their ranks who can really turn it on.
Overall if West Indies can do the basics right, not take too much pressure and play their top game they should win, else we are looking at something very exciting in Colombo tonight.