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The Bulletin by Sriram Veera
August 2, 2009
Finally, West Indies won a game. Bangladesh imploded spectacularly at the top but they kept playing like millionaires to be restricted to a below-par 118, which West Indies overhauled without breaking a sweat.
The only concern in the chase was whether West Indies would collapse against spin and Bangladesh didn't wait long to find out. They started with a double-spin attack and Shakib Al Hasan claimed the wicket of Dale Richards first ball, but Devon Smith thwarted them with his aggressive batting.
Smith started with a slog-swept six off the offspinner Naeem Islam and followed it next ball with a skillful inside-out lofted drive over covers, before taking on Mahmudullah in the third over. Three pulls, one of them a six, helped him take 15 in that over and eased the pressure of the early wicket. Though Smith fell 50 short of the target, and West Indies lost a couple more cheaply towards the end, Travis Dowlin took over to lead the hosts past the line. Dowlin knew the required rate wasn't steep enough to warrant any risks and he played accordingly. He did hit four boundaries, with a lofted hit over extra cover off Mehrab Hossain jnr being the highlight, but took care not to play many flashy shots. The same couldn't be said about Bangladesh, though.
Bangladesh charged ahead with a sense of fatal adventure, which was caught perfectly in the run-out of Naeem, their highest scorer today. He missed a sweep against David Bernard and the ball went straight to the keeper but he nevertheless tried to steal a single, only to be found miles short of his ground. Till then, Naeem had been dispatching the ball to all parts of the ground. He walked down the track to smack Darren Sammy over deep midwicket, moved outside leg to thump Gavin Tonge over long-off before collecting more boundaries with sweeps and pulls.
Before Naeem, there was more frenetic drama. Bangladesh came out oozing so much intent that something had to give. And it did. Three wickets fell in the first 14 deliveries: Junaid Siddique spooned a slower one to cover, Mohammad Ashraful played a weak lap shot for a first-ball duck, and Tamim Iqbal flicked to short midwicket. The score read 12 for 3 but Naeem was in no mood to buckle down. Shakib Al Hasan started a touch slowly but soon caught the Naeem spirit and unfurled slog-sweeps before he was cleaned up by Nikita Miller, bowled round his legs.
After Naeem, there was more chaos. Mushfiqur Rahim, who had moved cautiously to 3 in nine deliveries, ran himself out with some poor running. Responding to a push to point for a single, he jogged across and would have still made it had he not tried to plonk his bat lethargically inside the crease. Raqibul Hasan missed a straight ball and was trapped in front.
It was left to Mahmudullah, who had performed well with bat and ball through this tour, and Mehrab, to an extent, to show some caution and push the score past 100, which eventually proved inadequate.