• Das the destroyer, Tigers win T20Is

    Bangladesh ended their tour of the West Indies on a white-ball high with another thrilling win.

    Bangladesh kept the momentum going from their win in the second T20I against the West Indies by posting an impressive 184-5 off their 20 overs.

    Liton Das was in devastating form, cracking six fours and three sixes on his way to a 32-ball score of 61 (S/R 190.62). Das and the in-form Tamim Iqbal (21 off 13 balls, 3×4, 1×6, S/R 161.53) raced to 61-0 inside five overs, with Das cracking 6-6-4 off the last three balls of Ashley Nurse’s first over, and the pair taking 19 off Andre Russell’s first over (4-6-1-4-0-4).

    After the departure of Iqbal, the rate eased off for a while, but Mahmudullah (32 not out off 20 balls, 4×4, 1×6, S/R 160.00), captain Shakib Al Hasan (24 off 22 balls) and Ariful Haque (18 not out off 16 balls) took Bangladesh to 184-5.

    In response to the asking rate of 9.2 runs per over, the West Indies struggled to get started and were always behind the curve.

    Chadwick Walton (19 off 19 balls), Rovman Powell (23 off 20) and Denesh Ramdin (21 off 18) struggled to gain the upper hand against a well-balanced Bangladesh attack. With all three gone, the West Indies were struggling on 96-5, but Russell put his hand up and unleashed a devastating spell of hitting, smashing six sixes to all parts of Lauderhill to keep the West Indies in with a sniff of victory.

    With 50 needed from the last 18 balls (an asking rate of more than 16 runs to the over), Russell holed out to long on off a low full toss from Mustafizur Rahman, with Haque taking the catch on the boundary rope.

    Russell’s 47 had come off just 21 balls at an incredible strike rate of 223.80, leaving the West Indies on 135-7 off 17.1 overs, at which point the rain came down again to bring the match to a close. Bangladesh were adjudged winners by 19 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method and took the series 2-1.

    Rahman (3-31) was the destroyer-in-chief with the ball, while Al Hasan (1-22, econ 5.50) and Rubel Hossain (1-28, econ 7.00) each bowled 12 dot balls to keep the West Indies batsmen in check. 

    The tour had started disastrously for Bangladesh, being humiliated 2-0 in the Test series, but they fought back brilliantly in the ODI and T20I series, winning both by 2-1 margins. While their Test form away from home is cause for concern, looking ahead to the World Cup next year, the Bangladesh Tigers can be excited about the months that lie ahead.

    Bangladesh celebrate the wicket of Marlon Samuels.

    ‘It is definitely a big win for our team,’ said Player of the Match, Das. ‘They are a very good team… they are the world champions. The pitch was similar to the surface in our country. This is my first 50 and I’m lucky.’

    Bangladesh captain Al Hasan was named Player of the Series, and he credited his team for an ‘unbelievable effort’ and praised their ‘character’.

    ‘Everybody believed we could come back. Even the guys not playing put their heart into it and tried to help in whatever way they could. Couldn’t have asked for anything more.

    ‘We have been doing well in ODIs for the last three to four years, since the 2015 World Cup. This T20 series win now gives us the confidence that we can perform well in T20s as well,’ added Al Hasan. ‘We now need to work on Test cricket. We are already doing well at home, now we need to go outside home and start winning Test matches. We never felt like we were away from home thanks to the fans. They were like the 12th man.’

    West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite commended Bangladesh’s efforts as well and will now look ahead to the CPL.

    ‘We didn’t keep enough wickets in hand, but kudos to the bowlers,’ said Brathwaite. ‘To restrict them to 184 was incredible. We can always say we could have done this differently or bowled this ball differently, but sometimes as a captain, you just got to give credit to the opposition. Ashley Nurse was fantastic. Going away to Bangladesh and India now, it will be even more important to execute. Until then, we will head to the CPL, where most of the guys are trying to find their method.’


    Photo: Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images

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    Simon Lewis