Superb Windies hammer toothless Tigers
Mirpur, Bangladesh – All proof that West Indies had descended below Bangladesh in the One-Day International Rankings was strongly rebuffed on Friday, when they emphatically demolished the World Cup co-hosts by nine wickets.
Rubbing salt in the wounds, West Indies used just three bowlers – Kemar Roach, Sulieman Benn, and their captain Darren Sammy – and they hardly broke a sweat, as Bangladesh were chortled for the fourth lowest total in World Cup history of 58 in 18.5 overs in the Group-B match at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.
Benn was the most successful of the three West Indies bowlers with four wickets for 18 runs from 5.5 overs, but Roach with three for 19 from six overs, which earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, and Sammy with three for 21 from seven overs were equally devastating, as West Indies stunned a vocal capacity crowd into silence.
Chris Gayle, defying illness, then coolly anchored the visitors to one of their most emphatic victories in ODIs, with 226 balls remaining. The big left-hander drove left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, off the back-foot to deep mid-on and jogged a single to usher West Indies across the threshold and epitomise the ease of their victory.
“The pitch seemed to be doing a bit, I mean for the spinners, but Kemar Roach did a brilliant job for us,” said Gayle. “In fact, all of our players stepped up to restrict Bangladesh to 58. I think this win will take us in to the quarter-finals, but we still can’t relax as we have a couple of crucial games coming up against Ireland, England, and India.”
Gayle was not out on 37, becoming the fourth West Indies batsman behind Brian Lara, Shivanrine Chanderpaul, and Demsond Haynes to score 8,000 runs in ODIs, when he pushed his first delivery from Shafiul Islam into the covers to get his first run.
Devon Smith was the only casualty of the brief run chase, when off-spinner Naeem Islam bowled him for six in the sixth over.
The result meant that West Indies moved into second place with four points. It’s the same number as South Africa, and one more than India and England – and all three have a match in hand.
Prior to the tournament, West Indies dipped to their lowest ever ODI ranking of ninth behind Bangladesh, much to the chagrin of their fans.
This, along with a memorable series victory for Bangladesh in the Caribbean two years ago, when several of the first-call West Indies players were engaged in a contractual dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board, and did not make themselves available for selection, formed the backdrop for the match.
It meant that there was plenty for the visitors to prove and to gain from a victory, and purposeful bowling from Roach, Benn, and Sammy, whose astute leadership was also supported by sharp fielding, transformed what promised to be a humdinger into a no-contest.
The three West Indies bowlers suffocated the Bangladesh batsmen, several of whom were guilty of careless strokes, as their side folded for their lowest ODI total ever.
“We never thought we’d bat this poorly because we’ve been playing really good cricket for last the 12 months and we’ve been consistent with the bat,” said Shakib with the boos still ringing-our across the arena. I don’t know (what went wrong). We have a lot of things to work on now. We have to sit down and think about it.”
He added: “But hopefully, we’ll come back strongly as there are three more games. If we want to qualify for the second round, we have to win two out of three. It is still very much possible.”
Roach gave West Indies a bright start, when he had Tamim Iqbal, the dangerous left-handed opener, caught at second slip for a duck groping at a short, rising delivery angled across him. Still, not even West Indies could have imagined what transpired in the next few overs, particularly after Benn’s first over cost nine, and Sammy brought himself into the attack early.
The move paid dividends with Sammy’s third delivery, when opener Imrul Kayes was caught behind for five sparring at a rising delivery outside the off-stump in the fourth over. Roach and Sammy continued to starve the Bangladesh batsmen, and before they knew it, the home team was wobbling on 41 for five in the 11th over.
Sammy had Mushfiqur Rahim caught at short mid-wicket for a duck whipping a pitched-up delivery straight into the lap of Ramnaresh Sarwan in the sixth over. Roach then nailed Junaid Siddique lbw with a perfectly-pitched yorker for the Bangladesh top score of 25 in the ninth over, but the batsman had the gall to challenge umpire Steve Davis’ decision, which was confirmed by TV replays.
West Indies requested the Bowling Power Play for the 11th to 15th overs, and Benn, immediately brought back to replace Roach, obliged with another key scalp of Shakib. The beanpole West Indies left-arm spinner got the flight, the length, and the turn perfect with his second delivery of the new spell, which so flummoxed Shakib, he did not whether to swing to the leg-side or defend, and was bowled for eight.
Benn, Sammy, and Roach then ensured that they did not allow Bangladesh to wriggle free and write a famous comeback story, condemning the hosts to the lowest total by a full member nation of the International Cricket Council at any World Cup.