With the efficiency of what has – on this tour of the Caribbean – metamorphosized into a well oiled winning machine, faintly reminiscent of the Australians in their recent pomp, Bangladesh made a clean sweep of the Digicel One Day International Series, with a comprehensive three wicket win in the Third Digicel ODI at Warner Park.
Set 249 to win, the Bangladeshis strolled to the target, losing seven wickets and lasting until the penultimate over. Rookie all rounder, Mahmudullah Riad – who has been a revelation on the Caribbean trip for the visitors – guided the team to victory and remained unbeaten on 51 at the end, to secure the Man of the Match award which comes with a Blackberry Storm from Digicel.
Opener, Junaid Siddique, laid the foundation of the run chase with 55 from 73 deliveries, inclusive of six uncompromising fours.
The day began on a promising note for the West Indies after they won the toss and chose to bat on the placid wicket, but things quickly turned sour when 19 year old debutant, Keiran Powell – from neighbouring Nevis and who replaced Dale Richards – was trapped lbw with the first legitimate ball of the innings for a duck. The score quickly became 10 for 2 when Devon Smith was bowled for 4 by Nazmul Hossain, but Andre Fletcher launched a counter attack which stunned the Tigers.
With Fletcher’s foot on the accelerator, the West Indies looked well set to score in excess of 300, but they faltered and had to settle for a score which was a shade under 250.
The Grenadian right hander, who hits the ball beyond the boundary, particularly straight of the wicket, with astonishing ease motored to 52 from 42 deliveries, as he tore into the Bangladeshi pacers. The 21 year old clobbered eight fours and three meaty sixes, but the introduction of spin led to his demise. He was predictably slowed and was eventually out, carelessly hitting left arm spinner, Abdur Razzak (10-0-62-2), down the throat of Mohammad Ashraful at long on.
His 76 run third wicket partnership with Travis Dowlin (38 from 58 balls with 5 fours), required only 72 deliveries. He, however, threw his hand away in the 16th over and Dowlin fell in a nasty run out mix up with Floyd Reifer in the 25th (115 for 4), while David Bernard Jr (1) was halted in the 28th over to leave the score on a precarious 124 for 5.
At that stage Reifer and Darren Sammy joined forces and mainly through Sammy’s bold boundary hitting, the pair added 64 from 59 balls for the 6th wicket.
Sammy dominated the partnership with a 33 ball 40 inclusive of five fours and two sixes. Reifer also made 40 but his innings lasted for a torturous 79 deliveries, even though he managed three fours and one maximum.
The St Lucian all rounder traded mainly in boundaries since his running between the wickets was visibly inhibited by a thigh injury, which he picked up during the Second Digicel ODI.
At 188 for 5 in the 37th over, with Sammy blasting the bowling to all quarters of the modestly sized Warner Park outfield, the home side, again, looked well set to top the 300 mark, but Reifer then surrendered his innings, offering a catch to mid wicket and he was soon followed by Sammy, who patted a ball back to Razzak.
Mahmudullah (2 for 38 from 7 overs) and Mahbubul Alam (2 for 42 from 6 overs) also had two wickets, but it was captain, Shakib Al Hasan’s, restrictive bowling which contained the Windies the most. Shakib’s 9.4 overs cost a miserly 28 runs and he delivered two maidens during his spell.
Mahmudullah returned with the bat to anchor the innings when Bangladesh lost a brace of wickets and looked in danger of falling below the total. The Tigers though, shed their previous lack of self belief and marched to the victory in authoritative fashion, with the 23 year old Mahmudullah leading the way as he struck his second career half century.
At the top of the order, Siddique and Tamim Iqbal – who plundered runs against pacer Kemar Roach in hitting 30 from 27 with 5 fours and one six – put on a commanding opening stand of 54. All five of Tamim’s fours were hit with utter disdain off the bowling of Roach, who was mercifully removed from the attack after just two overs which cost 27 runs.
After the initial flourish – and for the first time in the Digicel ODI Series – the Bangladesh middle order buckled, leaving them on 133 for 5, before Mahmudullah took charge with able assistance from wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (31) and Naeem Islam (26).
Bangladesh, for the first time in their history, has a perfect win record on a tour. They won both the Digicel Tests and now all three of the Digicel ODIs.
Should they secure a win in the Digicel Twenty20 on Sunday, they will be hard pressed to repeat the feat against another team ranked higher than they are in the foreseeable future. The extraordinary circumstances of the regular West Indies players initially boycotting the series, then the WICB refusing to select them, played no insignificant role in aiding Bangladesh to their historic performances.