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Simmons’ ton sets up victory

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Simmons’ ton sets up victory

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MIRPUR – Lendl Simmons hit 122 to set West Indies up for a 40-run victory over Bangladesh in the first One-Day International (ODI) yesterday.
The loose-limbed opener earned the Man-Of-The-Match award after he stroked eight fours and two sixes from 124 balls in his maiden international hundred and shared a century partnership for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels to lead West Indies to 298 for four from their allocation of 50 overs after they were put in to bat.
West Indies – under the leadership of Denesh Ramdin because Darren Sammy had an upset stomach – restricted the Bangladeshis to 258 for seven on a docile Sher-e-Bangla Stadium pitch to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series which continues tomorrow at the same venue.
Simmons has promised much before with eight half-centuries, but he never reached a hundred in his previous 28 innings in 29 matches.
“I’m truly delighted to get my first century for West Indies and the fact that it came in a West Indies victory makes it an even better feeling,” he said. “It was a special knock today. I would like to dedicate today’s innings to my mother and daughter.”
It has been a good year for Simmons in the ODI format.
He had scores of 51, 51, 76 and 77 not out against Pakistan and 53 and 67 against India earlier this year in the Digicel Series in the Caribbean.
“I got some very good starts against Pakistan and India but I couldn’t convert them into hundreds. I was happy I managed to carry on all the way today,” he said.
Simmons’ knock was the highest ODI score by a West Indian against Bangladesh, surpassing the 117 made by Brian Lara in 1999.
He reached his hundred from 112 balls, playing left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan into mid-wicket for a single in the 37th over.
Simmons got into stride with a drive past Shafiul Islam for his first boundary and followed up with a pair of fours off Rubel Hossain in the following over.
The introduction of spin slowed the run-rate but Simmons blossomed with some fine strokes in the later stages of the innings, including four fours off Shafiul in the 40th over.
He shared 67 for the first wicket with compatriot Adrian Barath, whose innings came to an early end when he retired hurt on 21 in the 15th over, hobbling away with a hamstring injury.
The diminutive West Indies opener became the first batsman to fall victim of the new international rule that prohibits runners for injured batsmen and took no further part in the match.
Samuels came to the crease and put on exactly 150 with Simmons, further breaking the spirit of the typically spritely Bangladeshis.
He made 71 from 78 balls that included half-dozen fours and a pair of sixes, but he was fortunate on 46, when he edged Shakib between the legs of Bangladesh captain and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim in the 37th over.
Simmons was caught at short fine leg off the first ball of the 42nd over from Rubel Hossain essaying a scoop, and three balls later, Samuels was caught at deep backward square leg playing a hook, as the fast-medium bowler finished with three wickets for 65 runs from 10 overs.
Kieron Pollard smote two fours and three sixes in 41 from 25 balls and kept the momentum going in the closing overs with a stand of 59 with left-handed compatriot Darren Bravo before they fell in the space of five balls inside the last two overs. (CMC)