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West Indies outclass Tigers
Bangladesh’s lack of T20I expertise was exposed in sharp detail as they lost the first T20I against World T20 champions West Indies by seven wickets through the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-shortened encounter at Warner Park in St Kitts.
Bangladesh had scored a below-par 143 for nine and after an hour-long rain interruption during the change of innings, West Indies’ target was reduced to 91 from 11 overs. Despite an excellent double-wicket maiden from Mustafizur Rahman -- only the second by a Bangladesh bowler in T20Is -- in the second over of the chase, West Indies rode on their big-hitting pedigree and reached the target with 11 balls to spare.
After Mustafizur dismissed openers Evin Lewis and Andre Fletcher with the score on 10, Marlon Samuels (28 off 13) and Andre Russell (35 not out off 21) put on a blistering 42-run partnership in just 3.4 overs. Samuels was caught off Rubel Hossain at long on with the score on 52, but that only seemed to liberate Russell further as, along with Rovman Powell, he took West Indies home in just 9.1 overs.
It speaks to the difference between the two sides that while Bangladesh hit just the two sixes – both off Mahmudullah Riyad’s bat -- West Indies hit eight in less than half the overs, with Powell finishing the match with a maximum over long on off Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan.
Earlier, on a good batting wicket that had a bit of pace, Bangladesh’s top order were guilty of throwing away their wickets, with opener Tamim Iqbal becoming the first batsman to be out stumped off the first ball of a T20I innings. The Tigers were reduced to five for two, then 43 for four within the first six overs.
Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim then put on a short but sparkling fifth-wicket partnership that raised the visitors’ hopes but the early, self-inflicted blows proved too damaging as both players departed trying to bring their side back into the match.
As a result, Bangladesh scored just 22 runs in the last five overs for the loss of three wickets.
There was a half-hour delay to the start of play because of a passing shower after Carlos Brathwaite won the toss and chose to field first. When play did get underway Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal inexplicably charged down the wicket off the first ball of the innings from off-spinner Ashley Nurse to become the first player to be stumped in the first ball of a T20I.
Soumya Sarkar, returning to the national scene after having been overlooked for the Test and ODI legs of the tour, played back to a full delivery from the off-spinner to have his stumps splayed in the same over for the second golden duck of the innings. Five for two could easily have become six for three in the next over had Marlon Samuels not dropped the simplest of chances at cover from number four batsman Shakib in the second over bowled by Andre Russell.
Tamim's overaggression seemed to have set the tone as both Shakib and number three batsman Liton Das went hell for leather, missing almost as many deliveries as they put on 38 runs in 4.4 overs. Having lived by the sword, Liton eventually fell upon it when he tried one slog too many in the sixth over, top-edging a Keemo Paul delivery to square leg for 24.
The fall of the wicket did not have a calming effect on Shakib who, having reached 19 off nine balls, ramped a bouncer off the very next ball high towards the third man fence, where Williams caught the ball just as he went over the ropes. He however managed to release it back into play just before his feet touched the turf beyond, and came back in to complete the catch in a fantastic display of awareness. Three balls later a frenzied Powerplay of hit and misses ended with Bangladesh on 43 for four.
It was then up to the experienced and calm pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad to repair the damage. They did that to an extent with a 47-run partnership in just four overs, during which Mahmudullah displayed his dual abilities as a hard hitter and a deft placer.
He started off with a sequence of two fours and a six off Badree off successive deliveries in the seventh over. He opened the face to guide the ball to the third man fence, bludgeoned a full-pitched delivery down the ground and then hammered a length ball straight over the bowler’s head and out of the ground.
It seemed for a while that Mushfiqur would also cash in, hitting a trademark scoop over the keeper’s head in the ninth over from Brathwaite and a ramped four that almost carried over the third man boundary in the next over from Williams. However, he failed to notice that third man was moved finer and hit a similar shot down his throat in the next ball for an 11-ball 15.
The last specialist batsman, Ariful Haque, then put on 26 runs with Mahmudullah, but perished when a fast incoming delivery brushed his pad and dislodged the off bail on its way to keeper Denesh Ramdin. No one noticed it and Russell was appealing for a leg-before decision even as Mahmudullah at the non-striker's end ambled down the wicket as Ramdin's throw hit the stumps. That Ariful was bowled for an 18-ball 15 seemed a fortunate event for Bangladesh as the settled Mahmudullah would have been run out otherwise, but the experienced batsman could not cash in on his luck.
He was bowled by a beautifully disguised slower delivery from Kesrick Williams in the beginning of the 17th over to depart for his side's top score of a 27-ball 35 with the score on 125 for seven. Mehedi Hasan Miraz then holed out to long on off Williams in the 18th over and Nazmul Islam was caught behind in the same over to give the pacer his career-best figures of four for 28. Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain then played out the remaining deliveries and avoided the embarrassment of being bowled out inside 20 overs.