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Bangladesh braced for Windies

DHAKA, March 3- Bangladesh take on the West Indies in a must-win World Cup match on Friday hoping the barren wicket in Dhaka finally provides help to the home team's spinners.

There was no evidence of turn on the Sher-e-Bangla stadium pitch in the first two matches where Bangladesh lost a high-scoring game to India by 87 runs before beating Ireland by 27 runs.

But frontline spinner Abdur Razzak said the wicket being prepared for Friday’s game looked as if it will favour the slow bowlers.

"It did not happen in the first two matches, but I think this one will help us," the left-armer said. "It will give us a good chance to beat the West Indies."

With one win each from two matches, another defeat could ruin either team’s chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals from the tough Group B.

The pool, which includes India, South Africa and the Netherlands, was thrown wide open when Ireland stunned England by three wickets on Wednesday after Kevin O’Brien struck the fastest ever World Cup century.

West Indies manager Richie Richardson rubbished suggestions that his team will struggle to cope with unfamiliar conditions in Bangladesh, where they have not played since 2002.

The three senior pros in the current squad — Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul — are the only survivors from that tour.

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Richardson, who led the West Indies to the semi-finals when the World Cup was last played in the Indian sub-continent in 1996, said pace could play an equally prominent role.

"In this part of the world, the wickets have a reputation for favouring spinners," he said. "But at the end of the day if you are good enough as a seam bowler or fast bowler you can do well in any conditions.

"It’s all about assessing conditions, assessing the pitches and making the adjustment."

Richardson was buoyed by his team’s emphatic 215-run win over the Netherlands in New Delhi on Monday where fast bowler Keman Roach grabbed 6-27, including a hat-trick.

"My target is to win every single match and lift the World Cup," he said. "I am very confident we can do it. We are playing positive cricket and the guys are improving every day."

The West Indies will be inspired by their 99-run victory over the Tigers in the Super Eights round of the previous World Cup in the Caribbean, with Sarwan leading the way with 99.

If spin comes to the fore on the slow wicket in Dhaka, the West Indies will hope towering left-armer Sulieman Benn, who claimed 3-28 against the Dutch, will deliver.

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons said the West Indies will feel the absence of star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, opener Adrian Barath and wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh, who were all ruled out with injuries.

"Those injuries will make this game very difficult for them," Siddons said, adding the home team will have a distinct edge in the match.

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"They have a few match-winners like we do. But I am confident our match-winners will blow their match-winners away.

"But we need to play good cricket. This is a big match for us since a quarter-final place will be at stake."

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