Despite a five wicket bowling performance from the exciting Barbadian pacer Kemar Roach, Bangladesh spoiled the Dominican party when they cruised to a handsome 52 run victory over the West Indies in the first ever international match played in the nature isle.
Chasing 247 for victory, the Windies wobbled to 194 all out from 43.4 overs at the newest international venue in the Caribbean – the Chinese funded and built Windsor Park – to hand the visitors a 1-0 lead in the three match Digicel Series.
Left arm spinner Abdur Razzak who picked up 4 for 39, delivered critical wickets for his team’s jaunty performance and was appropriately rewarded with the Man of the Match prize. In his first over – the second of the innings – he sent back debutant daredevil opener Dale Richards for 1. After opening the bowling alongside medium pacer Sayed Rasel (8-0-30-1) Razzak returned later to bowl the second debutant, Travis Dowlin, for 10 and when Darren Sammy was engineering a late order rally, Razzak trapped him lbw for a boundaryless 28 from 38 deliveries.
The 27 year old who is also a member of the IPL’s Bangalore Royal Challengers squad, collected his third career four wicket haul when he claimed his third lbw victim – last man and the third debutant Nelon Pascal for a duck. Pascal’s demise formalised the Windies collapse below 200 despite a composed half century from Grenadian left hander Devon Smith.
With the Windies backed into a corner at 42 for 4, Smith, striking the ball with an almost effortless crispness, combined with David Bernard Jr to put on 78 for the 5th wicket. But when he was adjudged lbw for 65 (84b, 3×4) the innings took a nose dive and never recovered to seriously threaten the Bangladeshis who were clinical in completing the victory.
Bernard continued his excellent form with the bat, getting 38 (62b, 3×4) to add to his three half centuries in the recently completed Digicel Test Series which Bangladesh won 2-0.
After Richards fell in the second over, wicketkeeper Andre Fletcher was bowled by Rasel in the third, and captain Floyd Reifer continued his unpleasant parade with the bat when he miscued an on drive and was caught at point for 3. The score was then reduced to 23 for 3 and the run chase was stuck in a rut.
A 41 run seventh wicket partnership between Sammy and Rawl Lewis (21) revived the innings later on but the Windies had dug themselves too deep a hole.
In the first half of the day, Roach, playing in only his third ODI, bagged a career best 5 for 44 as he led the Windies bowling in restricting the Tigers to what should have been a manageable total but which proved to be beyond the Windies’ reach.
Out of form batsman Mohammad Ashraful scratched around for a top score of 57 from 95 balls with five fours and captain Shakib Al Hasan extended his batting form from the Test matches to hit a controlled 54 from 60 balls with three fours. Having also bowled eight overs for 26 runs and dismissing Smith, Shakib would have been a strong contender for the Man of the Match award.
The critical innings for Bangladesh though was a rapid 42 from 39 deliveries by all rounder Mahmudullah who spanked two fours and two sixes as he aided in pushing the Bangladeshi score towards the 250 mark. His 79 run sixth wicket partnership in exactly 11 overs with Shakib is what transformed their total from being merely modest to competitive on the slow pitch. Despite Windies coach John Dyson calling for pace and head curator Richard LeTang promising to respond, the pitch was disappointingly leisurely and it was no surprise that both teams played their full complement of slower bowlers.
Roach did not let the lack of pace deter him though as he took the wicket of Tamim Iqbal with the first delivery of the match, and like Razzak, returned and broke partnerships at vital junctures. He is the only bowler who has consistently caused the Bangladeshi batsmen discomfort of any kind. While the medium pacers and spinners bowl competently they are not causing the batsmen alarm or nervous spells.
After the early loss of Tamim, Junaid Siddique (36) and Ashraful added 74 in 16.4 overs to lay the foundation which Shakib and Mahmudullah capitalized on later, despite a spirited bowling performance from Bernard whose 10 overs cost only 31 runs and he also pocketed Siddique’s wicket.
The Tigers have now extended their win streak to four matches on the tour after triumphing in both Digicel Tests and the warm up game against the Vice Chancellor’s XI. The Second Digicel ODI will be played at the same venue on Tuesday.