Roston Chase’s debut knock of 39 alongside Nicholas Pooran’s rapid-fire 40 helped propel the West Indies to a thrilling ICC T20 World Cup success, at the expense of Bangladesh, inside the Sharjah Cricket Stadium today (29 October).
The contest went down right to the wire as both teams desperately required a win to keep alive their hopes of reaching the semi-final stage of the prestigious tournament.
And the penultimate over from Dwayne Bravo proved decisive as Chris Gayle saved four runs being scored with his in-step, and Jason Holder leaped like a salmon to prevent what seemed like a certain six to catch Liton Das for 44.
This left the result was on a knife-edge with 13 runs required from the final over for Bangladesh. Andre Russell bowled well to pile on the pressure with eight runs from three balls needed for victory.
But then Mahmudullah survived a scare as Andre Fletcher misjudged the hit and dropped the skipper, who notched two runs from the slip-up. Another couple of runs left Bangladesh chasing a boundary off the last delivery, but Mahmudullah was beaten by Russell to hand the Windies a breathtaking triumph.
The West Indies desperately needed a win to kick-start their tournament, having been humbled by England and then overturned by South Africa. With Sri Lanka (4 November) and Australia (6 November) to follow, facing Bangladesh truly was a do or die scenario.
Chase, the Barbados all rounder, was called to the crease early on after left-hander opener Evin Lewis was caught for six at square leg by Mushfiqur Rahim off Mustafizur Rahman.
Veteran Gayle, who with team-mate Bravo are the world’s two most experienced T20I players, failed for the third time in this competition. Despite being back as an opener, he scored just four runs before being clean bowled by Mahedi Hasan to leave the Windies struggling at 18-2.
And the Windies slowed limped to 48-3 off 10 overs as Chase steadied the ship, with Shimron Hetmyer (9) dismissed.
But then in the 13th over disaster struck. Captain Kieron Pollard retired hurt with suspected hamstring strain and Andre Russell was run out without even facing a ball, as 13 proved unlucky for the Windies. Chase’s straight drive hit bowler Taskin Ahmed’s foot and subsequently the wicket at the non-striker’s end to leave the West Indies in deep trouble at 62-4 off 12.4 overs.
But thankfully wicketkeeper Pooran lit up centre stage with his explosive display. He helped Chase put on 57 runs, before their fifth-wicket partnership was ended when the no.7 was caught by Mohammad off Shoriful Islam. Pooran had smashed four sixes during his in just 22-ball knock.
The West Indies lost their impetus with Shoriful sending Chase back to the pavilion with his next ball, and then Bravo grabbing just a single run that signalled the return of Pollard to the crease.
Pollard (14no) signed off off the innings with a six and ex-skipper Holder hit two sixes in the final over to finish with a five-ball knock of 15 on his return to the side.
In the end the two-time champions doubled their score in last six overs to reach a creditable total of 142-7, which included 94 runs from the final 10 overs.
Bangladesh, who opted to field first, looked uncomfortable in the middle as they edged to 60-3 off 10.4 overs.
It was Mahmudullah who looked as though he would be their hero, especially after escaping being caught by Fletcher in the final over, but he was unable to grab the boundary required on the last delivery.
This victory will not only instil the West Indies with much-needed confidence, but the success maintains their aspirations of reaching the semi-finals from Group 1 currently led by unbeaten England and Australia.
West Indies beat Bangladesh by three runs
WI 142-7 (20 overs)
Bangladesh 139-5 (20 overs)
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