Windies bang on
MIRPUR – The West Indies defied the ICC’s One-day International rankings – which had placed them one below Bangladesh – when they emphatically demolished the World Cup co-hosts by nine wickets yesterday.West Indies used just three bowlers – Kemar Roach, Sulieman Benn, and their captain Darren Sammy – and they hardly broke a sweat as Bangladesh were skittled out for 58 in 18.5 overs.
It was the fourth lowest total in World Cup history and Bangladesh’s lowest ODI total ever.
The swiftness of the destruction stunned a vocal capacity crowd at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium into silence.
Benn was the most successful of the three, with four wickets for 18 runs from 5.5 overs, but Roach, with three for 19 from six overs which earned him the Man-Of-The-Match award, and Sammy (three for 21 from seven overs) were equally devastating.
Chris Gayle, defying illness, then coolly anchored the visitors to one of their most emphatic victories in ODIs, with 226 balls remaining.
The big left-hander drove left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, off the back-foot to deep mid-on and jogged a single to usher West Indies across the threshold and epitomise the ease of their victory.
“The pitch seemed to be doing a bit, I mean for the spinners, but Kemar Roach did a brilliant job for us,” said Gayle. “In fact, all of our players stepped up to restrict Bangladesh to 58.
“I think this win will take us in to the quarter-finals, but we still can’t relax as we have a couple of crucial games coming up against Ireland, England, and India.”
Gayle, who ended not out on 37, became the fourth West Indies batsmanb – behind Brian Lara, Shivanrine Chanderpaul, and Demsond Haynes – to score 8 000 runs in ODIs, when he pushed his first delivery from Shafiul Islam into the covers to get his first run.
Devon Smith was the only casualty of the brief run chase, when off-spinner Naeem Islam bowled him for six in the sixth over.
The result moved the West Indies into second place in Group B with four points – the same number as South Africa, and one more than India and England who all have a match in hand.
Prior to the tournament, West Indies dipped to their lowest ever ODI ranking of ninth behind Bangladesh, much to the chagrin of their fans.
This, along with a memorable series victory for Bangladesh in the Caribbean two years ago, when several of the first-call West Indies players were engaged in a contractual dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board and did not make themselves available for selection, formed the backdrop for the match.
It meant that there was plenty for the visitors to prove, and purposeful bowling from Roach, Benn, and Sammy – whose astute leadership was also supported by sharp fielding – transformed what promised to be a humdinger into a no-contest.
The three West Indies bowlers suffocated the Bangladesh batsmen, several of whom were guilty of careless strokes.
“We never thought we’d bat this poorly because we’ve been playing really good cricket for last the 12 months and we’ve been consistent with the bat,” said Shakib with the boos still ringing-our across the arena.
“I don’t know [what went wrong]. We have a lot of things to work on now. We have to sit down and think about it.”
He added: “But hopefully, we’ll come back strongly as there are three more games. If we want to qualify for the second round, we have to win two out of three. It is still very much possible.”
Roach gave West Indies a bright start, when he had Tamim Iqbal, the dangerous left-handed opener, caught at second slip for a duck groping at a short, rising delivery angled across him.
Still, not even the West Indies could have imagined what transpired in the next few overs, particularly after Benn’s first over cost nine, and Sammy brought himself into the attack early.
The move paid dividends with Sammy’s third delivery, when opener Imrul Kayes was caught behind for five sparring at a rising delivery outside the off-stump in the fourth over.
Both sides will wait a week for their fourth group match next Friday. The West Indies will face Ireland at the PCA Stadium in Chandigarh, and Bangladesh will host England in Chittagong. (CMC)