Liton, Mustafizur help Bangladesh to series win

Not since July 2012 had Bangladesh won a bilateral series away from home. And yet, ranked No 10, they outplayed the defending World champions to win the third encounter in Florida and seal the series 2-1. If not for the monstrous avatar that Andre Russell put on late in Windies’ chase, the game would have been done and dusted way earlier.

Clinical with the bat and effective with the ball, Bangladesh rarely allowed the hosts to get on top of the proceedings. The platform for the win was laid early with Liton Das’s quickfire half century. The assault started off the first ball itself when he broomed a full toss for a boundary, but it shifted a few gears higher in the next over when he hammered Ashley Nurse for two sixes and a boundary off three successive deliveries.

With Das getting the runs quickly, the in form Tamim Iqbal took his time to settle in before pressing on the accelerator. The duo brought up the 50-run stand in only 22 balls – the quickest in Bangladesh’s history, and set the stage for 71 runs from the Powerplay. They lost two wickets during this period, with Soumya Sarkar’s poor form continuing. After Kesrick Williams had the measure of Tamim, Sarkar too followed the southpaw back to the dugout soon after.

Windies managed to pull back the scoring rate and also pick wickets at regular intervals to derail the Bangladesh charge to an extent. However, they could never get on top of the visitors. When Shakib Al Hasan fell in the 16th over, flicking Keemo Paul to the deep square leg, Bangladesh were reduced to 146 for 5, and were on their way down. However, a rain break broke their momentum.

Mahmudullah, who had settled in by then, added crucial runs in company of Ariful Islam in the death overs to take the visitors to 184 for 5. It would have been a competitive total, but the rain spell had slowed down the pitch considerably.

Bangladesh bowlers used the conditions to their advantage and mixed up the pace well. Windies openers failed to get going, and eventually under pressure fell to the plans of the Bangladesh bowlers. Andre Fletcher slashed to third man and Chandwick Walton, who had come in place of Evin Lewis, holed out to long on. Shakib added to their early woes by having Marlon Samuels castled with a slider that stayed low after pitching and hit the middle stump, to leave the hosts reduced to 32 for 3 in Powerplay.

Rovman Powell and Dinesh Ramdin steadied the innings a bit but failed to keep pace with the required rate which kept creeping quickly. By the eighth over, it had shot above 12 an over. Only 1 six and 3 fours were hit for a period of 8.5 overs, following the third over. And then both of the them fell in quick succession after their 45-run stand which threatened to further dent Windies’ charge. But it wasn’t as bad as the hosts would have thought.

Russell arrived possessed. He powered four sixes off his first nine balls to bring Windies back in the contest. He played with more control and caution against Shakib, whose deliveries were staying low, and once the left-armer was seen off, he resumed the carnage. Carlos Brathwaite simply turned the strike over and allowed the in-form Russell to dictate the period.

The requirement had reduced to 50 runs from three overs when Russell miscued a slog, which carried to long off, and ended his stay. With his dismissal, Windies’ chances of chasing down the target too went up in the air. Rain stopped play again, never to have it restarted. The hosts lost by 19 runs (DLS Method).

Bangladesh’s tour of West Indies which began with two horrid performances in the Tests has ended on a merry note with victories in the limited overs leg as prior to this the visitors had won the ODI leg 2-1 as well.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 184/5 in 20 overs (Liton Das 61, Mahmudullah 32*; Keemo Paul 2-26, Carlos Brathwaite 2-32) beat Windies 135/7 in 17.1 overs (Andre Russell 47, Rovman Powell 23; Mustafizur Rahman 3-31, Soumya Sarkar 1-18) by 19 runs (DLS Method)


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