Samuels' assault too much for Bangladesh
West Indies 197 for 4 (Samuels 85*, Bravo 41) beat Bangladesh 179 for 1 (Tamim 88*, Mahmudullah 64*) by 18 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
West Indies won their first Twenty20 international since winning the World T20, with Marlon Samuels playing an innings reminiscent of his assault on the Sri Lankan bowlers in the final of that tournament in Colombo. He smashed nine sixes in an innings full of confidence and clinical brutality, striking the ball clean and flat to dominate a Bangladesh attack that was on a high after picking up two early wickets. His gearshift at the death proved pivotal in the end, as Bangladesh, despite losing only a wicket in the chase, fell 18 short of their target. It is the first instance of a team losing just one wicket in a completed second innings in a Twenty20 international, and also being beaten.
Darren Bravo and Samuels didn't restrain themselves after Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith fell early, with Bravo signalling his intentions right from his first ball that was driven imperiously through extra cover. He then slashed Shafiul Islam through point, before taking on Bangladesh's spinners. He stepped out to Abdur Razzak, smacking him for two fours and a six, and dispatched Mahmudullah's first delivery over long-on.
Samuels was let off twice by Mushfiqur Rahim, as he tried to open the face against the seamers, one a thick outside edge that was more a half-chance. He played the supporting role to Bravo in a stand of 66 in seven overs and dominated the innings once the pair was separated by a stumping. Sohag Gazi, the offspinner, dismissed Bravo but didn't have a debut matching his maiden performances in Tests and ODIs. Kieron Pollard attacked him, launching him for two sixes in an expensive spell, before Samuels made the rest of the innings his own.
Samuels was a picture of absolute assuredness, he picked the gaps at will and was ruthless, silencing a crowd of nearly 19,000 at the Shere Bangla Stadium. He was batting on 27 off 24 at one stage and stepped up to hammer another 58 off just 19. As he did against Lasith Malinga in that unforgettable innings in the World T20 final, he aimed straight with immense power, and succeeded almost each time. Razzak was struck for two sixes and Rubel was given a taste of what Malinga would have felt.
Rubel tried to vary his pace but his lengths were off, with attempted yorkers being served up in the slot for Samuels to free his arms. When he pitched outside off, he was cracked over extra cover for two flat sixes; when he landed on middle, the ball ended in the stands behind midwicket and long-on. The final delivery, too, met the same fate; the last over bled 29 runs and Rubel's early joy of seeing off the openers was cast aside by the disappointment of having suffered the second-worst figures in terms of runs conceded in T20 internationals - 63 in four overs.
Bangladesh were given an excellent foundation in their response, with Anamul Haque setting the tone in a brisk opening stand. Anamul was the only batsman to fall in the chase, and Bangladesh looked on track till the end of the Powerplay. The dew wasn't helping West Indies grip the ball well, and they doled out a generous share of full tosses, but Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah failed to cash in. Gayle played a critical role in containing Bangladesh, conceding just 18 in four overs, only seeing full tosses go as far as the fielders placed in the deep. Overs 11-15 yielded just 33 runs and the required-rate crept to 15.60 at the end of that phase.
Even as Tamim began to middle the ball, and Mahmudullah thrashed Kemar Roach in the final over for 18, their century stand featured an extended period of relative quiet and an inopportune decline in the scoring-rate - including two boundary-less overs in the last five - that cost them the match. Samuels and Mahmudullah did something similar in the final overs of their respective innings, but the outcome had almost become a foregone conclusion.
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo