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The Bulletin by Sriram Veera
July 31, 2009
Bangladesh 249 for 7 (Siddique 55, Mahmudullah 51*, Roach 4-63) beat West Indies 248 (Fletcher 52, Mahmudullah 2-38, Mahbubul 2-42) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Bangladesh held their nerve despite wobbles at significant junctures to complete a whitewash in St Kitts. Set a target of 249, they were given a fiery start by Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique before Mahmudullah steered the side through nervy moments to clinch a historic victory.
Things were looking a touch dicey for Bangladesh at 133 for 5 in the 28th over but they recovered through a serene partnership between Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim, the wicketkeeper. It was almost risk-free cricket as the duo picked singles quietly and stole the odd boundary here and there to get closer to the target. Importantly, they knew the batting Powerplay could be taken later when acceleration was the need of the hour; till then it was time to play safe cricket. Mushfiqur picked up a couple of boundaries in the 38th over but he was unlucky to be given out out caught behind in the 40 th over, when replays showed he did not get bat on a flick down the pads.
Bangladesh opted for the batting Powerplay in the 44th over and immediately Naeem Islam smoked three boundaries off Gavin Donge. Two shuffled flicks followed a biff down the ground and the required rate dipped. Mahmudullah picked a six over long-off against Nikita Miller and Naeem hit another six, off Kemar Roach, before falling to the same bowler but by then the pair had ensured that they made full use of the Powerplay to clinch the win. West Indies were left to rue the first-ball reprieve that they offered to Mahmudullah when Darren Sammy spilled a catch at first slip.
Just as they finished strongly, Bangladesh had started their chase brightly. Tamim, in particular, was in some hurry, rattling three fours in the first over before repeating the dose in the third. The kind of shots also pointed to the poor bowling. Three were flicked fours and the other three were carved over point as Roach sprayed it around. Tamim later swung Sammy over long-off before smashing one straight to mid-on.
His opening partner, Siddique, kept the momentum going with a measured innings. He started with a series of on-side boundaries against Tonge before he settled down to drop anchor as a couple of wickets fell. Mohammad Ashraful edged one behind, Raqibul Hasan was caught brilliantly by a diving Floyd Reifer in the covers and Shakib Al Hasan, who started with a flurry of shots, edged an attempted pull but Siddique batted on serenely. Though he got out after reaching fifty, Bangladesh had enough firepower to get past the line.
West Indies lacked similar firepower in the middle as they wasted a good start provided by Andre Fletcher. As they have done in the Tests and the ODIs, West Indies continued to struggle against the spinners. They lost two quick wickets, proceeded to recover smartly through a breezy fifty from Fletcher, only to lose their way against spin and be bowled out for 248 inside 50 overs.
A poor finish was in contrast to the great start provided by Fletcher. What stood out in Fletcher's innings was a delightful tendency to drive straight. Mahbubul Alam was getting some outswing and was looking pretty good but Fletcher countered him with his drives in the v. He started off with an off drive in the third over and upped the tempo in the fifth with two sixes: the first one was dispatched over long-off before he swung the other some 20 rows over the long-on boundary. Neither shot had any touch of violence as he covered for the outswing and drove cleanly and fluently through the line. Mahbubul lost his composure and in the seventh over, he pushed three deliveries on the legs of Fletcher, who put them away for boundaries.
With the seamers bleeding runs, the action swung to Fletcher versus the spinners. Again, Fletcher won the first round, reeling off several meaty blows. There was a back-foot punch through the covers, a customary swing over long-on and a heave to the midwicket boundary, which brought up his fifty, against Abdur Razzak but he fell soon, launching one straight to long-on. Almost immediately, the run-rate dropped as Bangladesh applied the squeeze. More agony lay in store for the hosts as Travis Dowlin, who gave admirable support to Fletcher, was run out on the last ball of the 25th over.
It didn't help West Indies' cause that their captain Reifer's travails against spin continued. He couldn't rotate the strike and it perhaps, led to Dowlin's dismissal. He was allowed some breathing space by Sammy, who oozed intent from the start and kept unfurling the big hits. He swung Mahmudullah for two consecutive sixes and belted Naeem for a couple of fours but he fell rather tamely, scooping a caught-and-bowled chance to Razzak. That was the final nail on the coffin as West Indies fell short of achieving a defendable target. .
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