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14 March 201516:27 By Manoj Narayan

West Indies v United Arab Emirates Preview, MATCH 41, Napier

With the numbers, as well as the weather, seemingly against it, West Indies has it all to do against UAE on Sunday

West Indies v United Arab Emirates Preview, MATCH 41, Napier - Cricket News

West Indies is expected to unleash Chris Gayle’s fury on UAE despite the big batsman, reportedly, not being fully fit.

It’s math camp. On Sunday (March 15), the final day of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 group stages, different permutations and combinations will come into play to decide which two of West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland progress to the knockouts. In the middle of it all is United Arab Emirates, with no hopes of progressing, but hopes high of having a decisive say in the way things pan out when it takes on West Indies at McLean Park in Napier.

For Pakistan and Ireland, the equation is simple: the winner qualifies. For West Indies, it’s a tad trickier. With four points from five games, it is two points behind both Pakistan and Ireland, and has an inferior net run-rate to Pakistan. The least it needs is a win over UAE. But if its win against UAE isn’t by a big enough margin, and if Ireland beats Pakistan in the day’s second match, Pakistan can go through.

To keep its side of the bargain, West Indies is expected to unleash Chris Gayle’s fury on UAE despite the big batsman, reportedly, not being fully fit. UAE has so far conceded totals in excess of 300 to Pakistan and South Africa, the likes of Ahmed Shehzad and AB de Villiers doing the damage on those occasions. Gayle could be the latest to join that list, and if he gets a start he surely will.

Despite the dangers lurking, Mohammad Tauqir, the UAE captain, saw opportunity in adversity. “They’ll be under pressure of chasing a run rate, and I think it gives us opportunity to play freely and express ourselves either batting or bowling,” he said.

Tauqir drew confidence from Ireland’s victory against West Indies in its tournament opener – half the reason why West Indies finds itself in the current predicament – and said it was over-reliant on Gayle. “We saw Ireland beat the West Indies, it gives us a lot of confidence, and I think we can do that as well,” said Tauqir. “The West Indies team is also a very unpredictable side. They heavily rely on Chris Gayle, so we can see some opportunity playing against them.”

Gayle, however, has sparkled only once in the tournament so far, when he hammered a 147-ball 215 – a knock that included 16 sixes – against Zimbabwe. Thereafter, he’s scored 3 and 21 in the losses against South Africa and India. It’s crunch time for West Indies now, and Gayle needs to come good when it matters most. Apart from putting his team in a good position, Gayle firing on all cylinders also relieves the pressure on his team-mates.

Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, had no qualms about outlining West Indies’ plan of attack – attack. “Obviously they seem to not like the aggressive stuff,” he said. “It’s in our nature to be aggressive and we just need to be aggressive and play aggressive cricket.”

However aggressive it is and however well it might play, West Indies may still have to walk away without anything to show for it though. The onset of Cyclone Pam means there is a real chance that the game could be washed out – meaning the teams would have to share a point, which wouldn’t be enough to take West Indies through.

UAE hasn’t posed much of a threat to Test-playing nations so far this tournament, but it would desperately want to be the banana peel on which West Indies slip. How the men from the Caribbean deal with pressure would play a huge part in how the match goes, Pam permitting.

Teams (from)
West Indies: Jason Holder (capt), Marlon Samuels, Sulieman Benn, Johnson Charles, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor, Nikita Miller.

UAE: Mohammad Tauqir (capt), Khurram Khan, Swapnil Patil (wk), Saqlain Haider, Amjad Javed, Shaiman Anwar, Amjad Ali, Nasir Aziz, Rohan Mustafa, Manjula Guruge, Andri Berenger, Fahad Alhashmi, Mohammad Naveed, Kamran Shahzad, Krishna Chandran.