Samuels, Narine help WI keep series alive
West Indies 228 for 6 (Samuels 126, Powell 47) beat Bangladesh 227 (Mahmudullah 52, Narine 4-37) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
With the series at stake, West Indies saved face with a four-wicket win in Mirpur, set up by the spinners and a calm century by Marlon Samuels. West Indies were set 228, not a daunting target on paper, but with their recent batting collapses and struggles and spin, a comeback win for the visitors couldn't be taken for granted. The spinners created chances and closed the gap between the two sides towards the end, but Samuels was the wicket Bangladesh wanted. They dismissed him, but a little too late, as West Indies were only six away from victory with four overs to spare.
After their Khulna horror show in the second ODI, where they were let down in all departments, West Indies did well to bounce back. A significant factor in their comeback was the re-emergence of Sunil Narine, who revived a faltering tour with a four-wicket haul. He was back at his wicket-talking best, teasing the batsmen with his drift and turn, and getting the carom ball to beat the outside edge on several occasions. West Indies needed at least one batsman to lead the way and Samuels stepped up, contributing nearly 100 to the target. The failures of the rest, barring Kieran Powell, will worry West Indies.
After West Indies lost an uncharacteristically tepid Chris Gayle cheaply, Samuels and Powell settled in to add 111 for the second wicket. They managed to get on top of the bowling because they used their feet well. A feature of Samuels' knock was his willingness to play the ball late. He used the crease well, going back to slap it square on the off side or delicately dab it away to pick up singles. If the ball was tossed up wide outside off, he waited and crashed it off the front foot past cover. Brute power and bat speed stood out in the way he fetched his boundaries.
Samuels also cashed in on some wayward bowling by the seamers, slapping short and wide deliveries over backward point. Spin was Bangladesh's best bet, as there was enough bite and turn to keep them interested. Samuels was hit on the pads on a few occasions with the turn and bounce getting the better off him. A bigger challenge for the spinners was the dew. They struggled to control their lengths, and the half trackers were duly punished to the boundary.
Bangladesh had an opening when Powell and Darren Bravo fell cheaply, both perishing while trying to go over the top against the spinners. Abdur Razzak managed to sneak in two wickets as his quota came to an end, getting Dwayne Smith caught in the deep and bowling Kieron Pollard through the gate.
At 182 for 5 in the 40th over, the game had opened up. West Indies had just come off an ordinary batting Powerplay, scoring just 17 runs for two wickets. Samuels ensured West Indies didn't combust, guiding the inexperienced Devon Thomas, who showed good temperament in pushing for singles to give Samuels the strike. Samuels had a close call when he nearly chipped straight to backward point on 95 and was dropped at slip soon after. A tactical error cost Bangladesh when Rubel Hossain, the right-arm seamer, was given the 45th over, with West Indies needing 34. Mushfiqur Rahim decided not to continue with a spinner, and by the end of the over Samuels had ransacked 24, including three fours and two sixes. Bangladesh's chances receded with every boundary.
The win was set up by Narine, who gave West Indies the initiative by nipping out three wickets in nine balls to open the floodgates. Prior to the third one-dayer, Narine had taken only four wickets in as many matches on tour, disappointing returns for a mystery spinner who was identified as a threat before setting foot in Bangladesh. Narine struck in his third over, inducing an edge to send back Tamim Iqbal, who shaped to cut but was squared up by the extra bounce. Naeem Islam popped a leading edge to cover, before Anamul Haque was trapped lbw with one that turned as he went forward to work it across the line.
Bangladesh had lost half their side for 116 by the 25th over, but Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah restored order with a half-century stand. Mahmudullah was the more aggressive of the two, using his feet to fetch a six over deep midwicket. Mushfiqur departed in the first over of the batting Powerplay, a period in which Bangladesh lost their way, scoring just 14 runs. Mahmudullah couldn't accelerate nor bat through the innings as Bangladesh ended with a middling total which wasn't enough to set up an unassailable series lead.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo