Rampaul shines in easy win for visitors
West Indians 217 for 9 (Bravo 47, Sammy 30) beat Bangladesh Cricket Board XI 152 (Kapali 41, Rampaul 4-23)
West Indians eased to a comfortable 65-run win over Bangladesh Cricket Board XI and the abject surrender of the home batsmen, many of whom are in the Bangladesh squad, to the West Indies' bowling attack would have given a genuine boost to the visitors. West Indians still have areas of concern - their batting against spin in particular - but Ravi Rampaul soothed their nerves after they struggled to 217 for 9 in 45 overs.
Rampaul took his time to settle into a rhythm but with the slightly older ball, he hustled the batsmen with his steep bounce and pace. Alok Kapali mustered 41 before Rampaul had him guiding one straight to Denesh Ramdin in the 31st over, the batsman clearly beaten by pace. Naeem Islam's attempt at a pull shot was embarrassing as he only top-edged the ball to the covers before Nasir Hossain's swish had him caught behind, both off Rampaul. He took his fourth by removing the last man Robiul Islam, as the hosts were bowled out for just 152 in 41 overs.
Mohammad Ashraful had given the BCB XI some momentum when he struck six boundaries in his 29-ball 32, but he had an immovable object at the other end - Shahriar Nafees meandered to 16 off 51 balls before sweeping an Anthony Martin leg-stump delivery down square-leg's throat.
While the BCB XI batsmen struggled to cope with the short ball, West Indians had a tough time handling the slow, turning one. They were stuck in one of two gears after being put into bat: too watchful or going for broke at every opportunity.
With the start of the innings going nowhere, Lendl Simmons wound up at the first sight of a loose delivery in the seventh over, only to see his ferocious square-cut go straight to Nasir Hossain at point, while Kieran Powell misread the wicket and was caught at long-off going after Naeem's offspin despite having already having been dropped earlier trying the same shot.
A 59-run stand between Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels followed but that too flickered between a very cautious approach and bravado. Bravo eventually missed his half-century by three runs when he was caught straight down the ground after he hit five sweet boundaries and a six in his 74-ball knock. Samuels's innings ended similarly when he chipped it right down long-on's throat while Danza Hyatt's first outing in the subcontinent ended lasted just 19 deliveries.
The next partnership gave the visitors some respectability as Denesh Ramdin and Darren Sammy added 57, out of which 23 were taken from one Robiul over, but the manner of Ramdin's dismissal left everyone at the ground bemused. He miscued a double-bouncing Ashraful delivery into the hands of long-off, where Shuvogoto Hom ran in to take a good catch.
Ashraful's surprise introduction was the result of Naeem having to keep wicket after Sahagir Hossain was injured in the 21st over, but it was productive as his combination of slow cutters got him three wickets in two overs. It was Kapali, however, who was the pick of the bowlers, the leg-spinner picking up 2 for 32 from his nine overs.
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka