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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bangla soars win over West Indies

Sure you have heard this cliché many a times ~ ‘in ODI Cricket, it is not the best team that wins – but the team that wins better on that day !’ .. .. chasing a formidable 322, Bangladesh were 133/3 with Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal & Mushfiqur Rahim out .. .. but only 19 overs had gone by ! – Liton Das walked in !!~ the Bangladeshi Press and its people are celebrating searching for adjectives !

Shakib Al Hasan, has been in tremendous form in the ongoing World Cup, reached the landmark of 6000 runs in ODI cricket during the Tigers’ match against West Indies at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton yesterday. He started the game against the Caribbean side just 23 runs shy off the personal achievement. Bangladesh’s premier all-rounder then reached the milestone in the 15th over of the innings when he chopped a length ball outside off which went pass the keeper to take a double off the Oshane Thomas delivery.

Earlier, Bangladesh conceded a combined 110 runs in the first 10 and last 10 overs, but the 30 overs in between -- usually Bangladesh’s strength as the spinners come into play -- leaked 211 runs, thanks mainly to a blitz from Hetmyer.  For WI,  everything was going according to script. Hope had dropped anchor in order to let others bat around him, Bangladesh were bowling in partnerships to keep West Indies from getting away. Bangladesh’s standards dropped and Hetmyer’s rose. Mustafizur Rahman -- who would later make amends in a fine death-overs spell -- lost the plot in the 35th over, conceding 19 runs, which included five wides. Hetmyer was then also untroubled by Mehedi -- the man who got him out four times in Tests and thrice in ODIs in the last year -- as Bangladesh’s most economical bowler in the World Cup had a rare off day, starting with his spell to Hetmyer. The left-hander hit Mosaddek Hossain for a six and a four in one over and Saifuddin for two sixes in another as the fourth-wicket partnership rocketed to 83 in just 7.1 overs, changing the course of the innings.

Still Bangla could smile and celebrate -  Daily Star, Bangladesh screams – ‘Three sixes off three successive balls, two of them hooked off bouncers delivered by a genuinely fast bowler. 15 minutes later, the score read 305 for three after 40 overs. Nine balls later, a total of 321 was chased down in just 41.3 overs. The batting team were none of England, India or Australia.’  In a performance that consummately upended perceptions, Bangladesh beat West Indies by seven wickets playing a style of cricket that has not been associated with the Tigers. The second-highest successful chase in World Cup history brought the Tigers’ campaign roaring back to life at the County Ground in Taunton yesterday in the presence of a delighted, sloganeering crowd of Bangladeshi expatriates.

The style of play may have been a surprise, but the man spearheading the win was not. As Liton Das swivel-pulled the last of a plethora of bouncers to the square leg fence, Shakib Al Hasan crossed over to the striker’s end and, with a fist-pump and a smile, calmly uprooted the stumps much like he had extracted the sting from a stubbornly aggressive West Indies attack over the past three hours. He had to put it back because, as he said later, ‘they do not let you keep the zinc bails’, but there was no going back from the notion that Bangladesh had served further notice of their prowess. In the end it was an easy seven-wicket victory for the Tigers against the West Indies that keeps them in contention for something significant at this World Cup after an amalgamation of improvement in every cricketing department. They reached the 322-run target -- equaling their highest-ever successful chase in ODIs and also accomplishing the second-highest successful chase in World Cup history, with 8.3 overs to spare. Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will rightfully be touted as the hero of the match after his back-to-back ton but even though Liton Das may not quite be the unsung hero, the right-hander’s contribution to the cause will leave a mark, and indeed something any supporting batsman can learn from.

Bangla would savour the town name derived from "Town on the River Tone"   King Ine of Wessex threw up an earthen castle here about 700, but it was destroyed by his queen Æthelburg of Wessex in 722, to prevent its seizure by rebels.  In 1451 during the Wars of the Roses Taunton was the scene of a skirmish between Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon, and Baron Bonville. The match was played at Taunton -   a large regional town in Somerset, England.  Somerset, the county which had   world class players, Viv Richards, Joel 'Big Bird' Garnerand the England all-rounder Ian Botham at one time. 

The West Indies have now lost three of their five matches and, with four games left, captain Holder conceded there is only a slim chance they can make the semi-finals in the 10-team tournament.  “It’s looking tough at this present moment, but it’s not impossible. We have to play every game here now as a final,” Holder said. “We’ve got to win every game left to give ourselves a really good chance.”  As Shakib edged closer to his hundred, Liton began to accelerate at the other end. Shakib reached his ninth ODI ton off just 83 deliveries and then Liton soon reached his fifty. Liton proceeded to up the ante hitting three brilliant sixes on the trot off Shannon Gabriel in the 38th over as Tigers looked to finish in a hurry. The duo remained unbeaten during an unbroken 189-run fourth-wicket partnership off 135 deliveries as Tigers coasted to victory. Shakib remained unbeaten on a 99-ball 124 while Liton missed out on a ton after an unbeaten 94 off 69 deliveries.

It was Bangladesh's second victory in this World Cup and after Shakib's first ton had gone in vain against England, his second ton on the trot did not miss the mark. For the statistics buffs, on June 18, 2015 – at Dhaka, Liton Das made his debut alongside Mustafizur Rahman.  Das made only 8 but Mustafizur’s 5 for enabled victory over India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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