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West Indies edge Bangladesh for first World Cup win


West Indies edge Bangladesh for first World Cup win
Roston Chase plays into the off-side during his 39 - CWI Media picture

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Sharjah – Andre Russell bowled an immaculate final over to help West Indies pip Bangladesh in a low-scoring thriller by three runs for their first win in the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup on Friday, keeping their title defence alive.

Both sides came into the contest with two defeats from as many matches and Bangladesh needed 13 in Russell’s final over to chase down West Indies’ 142 for seven – built on Nicholas Pooran’s 40 off 22 balls – on a low and slow wicket at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium.

Russell did not find much support from his fielders, who were guilty of dropped catches and poor ground fielding even in the last over, but still gave away only nine runs and restricted Bangladesh to 139 for five.

With Bangladesh needing four off the final delivery, Russell showed nerves of steel to find the perfect yorker and seal the fate of the contest.

The defeat all but ended the hopes of Bangladesh advancing to the semi-finals.

Liton Das, who top scored for the South Asian side with 44, stitched together a 40-run stand with captain Mahmudullah, but his departure to a smart catch by Jason Holder at long-on in the penultimate over hurt Bangladesh’s chances.

Mahmudullah remained unbeaten on 31 off 24.

“This win means a lot to the team,” Holder told reporters. “We’re obviously in a do or die situation, having to win the last remaining games, so it’s good to start this one off. It was a close encounter. Nevertheless, we got over the line.”

West Indies earlier promoted Chris Gayle to open the innings after dropping Lendl Simmons, but their batting woes continued, as the Caribbean side were reduced to 32 for three after being put in to bat.

Captain Kieron Pollard also failed to get going and walked off retired ill and Russell was run out on the next ball without facing a delivery.

The arrival of Pooran to the crease provided the spark that West Indies needed and the left-handed batter smashed spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan for two sixes each in his knock.

The 26-year-old provided the late flourish during a stand of 57 with Roston Chase, who made his T20 International debut for West Indies.

Pooran and Chase, who made 39, were out on consecutive balls to seamer Shoriful Islam, but some big hitting from Holder led West Indies’ late assault.

Holder, who came into the squad as an injury replacement, hit 15 off five balls, as West Indies added 72 in the last six overs. Pollard returned to bat and hit a six on the last delivery of the innings.

“I felt like 140 was a very good total,” Holder said. “I think with our bowling attack we could defend that, and it proved to be enough.”

Poor catching once again haunted Bangladesh with the side also guilty of dropping three catches on Friday.