West Indies captain Darren Sammy said that batting till the final over of the innings, despite the clutch of early wickets, made the difference for his team in the fourth ODI in Mirpur. They fought their way to 211 for 9 after losing half their side by the 24th over, and that total eventually proved to be too big for a Bangladesh line-up that looked all at sea against quality pace bowling.
"Looking at the way the game was unfolding, I always told myself that if we bat till the end we stand the chance of scoring 190-plus," Sammy said. "It is about applying yourself in the middle. My partnership with [Darren] Bravo was crucial. We just said 'let us try to bat deep'.
"We wanted to have a go in the last four overs. We kept losing wickets, so we had to push [launching the final surge] back. But it proved today that 212 runs was a lot [to chase] on that wicket."
Sammy's all-round performance was, ultimately, the difference between the two sides. He held firm with the bat after West Indies had fallen to 102 for 6 in the 32nd over from the relative comfort of 71 for 1 just an hour before. He took stock of the situation and batted calmly with Darren Bravo, the pair adding 43 runs for the seventh wicket. Bravo was caught and bowled by offspinner Sohag Gazi, one of several poorly-timed dismissals for West Indies, in the 43rd over.
Sammy then had the likes of Veerasammy Permaul and Sunil Narine for company but, even now, rather risking hitting out and allowing his team to be bowled out, he kept his head. He only launched in the last three overs of the innings, taking 35 valuable runs. He did have a life, being dropped at deep-square leg on 30 when West Indies were 168 for 8, and he made it count for his team.
"Last game it was Marlon [Samuels], today it is me. It is about players putting their hands up and doing what matters for the team," Sammy said. "As a leader, you always try to lead from the front. It gives you a good feeling inside. It won't happen all the time because it is a team sport but when you do it, it feels good."
Sammy also made a major contribution with the ball, removing Anamul Haque and Naeem Islam off successive balls in his first over before accounting for Mominul Haque in his third over. He took advantage of the Bangladesh batsmen's impatience. With Kemar Roach, his opening partner, he had reduced Bangladesh to 13 for 5 by the sixth over, and the series-levelling win was all but confirmed.
West Indies thrived by attacking with pace and short pitched bowling up front and, today, the spinners did the other half of the job. The bowling unit's showing pleased Sammy: "Our pacers have been taking the wickets throughout the Test series. In this game the ball was carrying nicely, maybe because of the dew. We all know Kemar bowls 90-plus miles per hour. Even [Dwayne] Smith did a good job. Sunny [Narine] and [Veerasammy] Permaul got some spin. All the bowlers put their hands up."
Saturday's game now, for all intents and purposes, is a final, and West Indies are in the ascendancy. The pressure was on them when they returned to Dhaka from Khulna 2-0 down, and they have turned their form around as they would have liked. "It was a must-win game for us, I'm just happy that the team did what they had to do to win," Sammy said. "We have had good days in the Test series, the last [one-day] match ... We did what we had to do today, which is level the series. It sets up a big final tomorrow."