TAUNTON, England – West Indies’ World Cup dreams lay in ruins today after Bangladesh completed their highest-ever successful run chase to thrash the Caribbean side by seven wickets and leave them with a battle against the odds to reach the top four.
The two-time World champions laid down the gauntlet when they piled up 321 for eight off their 50 overs at Somerset County Ground, with Shai Hope falling short of his seventh One-Day International hundred with a top score of 96.
Left-handed opener Evin Lewis struck a breezy 70 off 67 balls while Shimron Hetmyer entertained with the joint-fastest half-century of the tournament when he carved out exactly 50 off 26 balls.
Captain Jason Holder hit out at the death to notch a cameo 33 off 15 deliveries as West Indies managed to surpass the 300-run mark for the fifth time this year.
But in reply, Shakib-al-Hasan unfurled a superb unbeaten 124 while Liton Das shone with 94 not out as the Tigers made light of the target to win with 51 balls remaining.
The pair staged a record unbroken fourth wicket stand of 189 which allowed Bangladesh to extend their dominance over West Indies with their fifth straight win over them and eighth in 10 matches inside the last 12 months.
Opener Tamim Iqbal supported with 48 and Soumya Sarkar chipped in with 29, helping to drive an effort that saw Bangladesh move up the standings to fifth on five points.
West Indies, meanwhile, considered dark horses coming into the tournament, are adrift in seventh on three points with one win in five outings. With four games remaining – including fixtures against unbeaten India and New Zealand – they are in serious danger of early elimination.
Asked to bat first, West Indies suffered an early blow with just six runs on the board when veteran left-hander Chris Gayle perished without scoring in the fourth over to a catch at the wicket, nibbling at one angled across him from seamer Mohammad Saifuddin (3-72).
Hope joined Lewis to repair the innings in a 116-run, second wicket stand, as West Indies slowly recovered from Gayle’s loss.
While Hope faced 120 balls and counted four fours and a six in a patient knock, Lewis was more fluent in punching six fours and two sixes.
Lewis reached his fourth ODI half-century off 58 balls in the 23rd over and immediately looked to raise the tempo with two consecutive boundaries off Shakib’s left-arm spin and a slog-sweep for six in the bowler’s next over. However, he fell to a loose shot when he failed to clear long-off with Shakib (2-54) just balls later in the 25th over.
Nicholas Pooran arrived to stroke 25 from 30 balls in a 37-run, third wicket stand with Hope, but he holed out to long on also off Shakib in the 33rd over.
It was Hetmyer who then energised the innings and put the Windies on course for 300, blasting four fours and three sixes in an 83-run, fourth wicket partnership with Hope.
Along the way, the 22-year-old Hetmyer became the fourth fastest West Indies batsman to 1000 ODI runs in his 28th innings when he reached 34.
At 242 for three, the platform was laid for a late assault but that never really materialised as the Windies suffered a double blow in the 40th over when they lost Hetmyer and Andre Russell (0) in the space of four deliveries.
Hetmyer picked out deep mid-wicket with seamer Mustafizur Rahman (3-59) who then found Russell’s edge for wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim to complete a regulation catch.
Holder then belted four fours and two sixes in a 39-run, sixth wicket partnership with Hope but he lifted Saifuddin into long off’s lap in the 44th over to leave the Windies on 282 for six.
Hope, whose fifty came from 75 balls in the 28th over, looked all bets to reach three figures before he whipped a Mustafizur full toss and was caught on the square leg boundary in the 47th over.
Persisting with their tactic of short-pitch deliveries, West Indies bowlers never looked the part on a placid track nd Bangladesh duly cashed in on the poor display. Left-hander Tamim struck six fours off 53 deliveries in a 52-run opening stand with Soumya, who crunched a pair of fours and sixes before steering fast bowler Russell to Gayle at first slip in the ninth over.
Shakib then commanded the run chase, striking 16 fours in a 99-ball knock to complete his second straight hundred in the tournament and ninth of his career. He added 69 for the second wicket with Tamim who fell on the verge of his fifty when he was brilliantly run out by left-arm speedster Sheldon Cottrell off his own bowling in the 18th over.
And West Indies were back in the game when Mushfiqur (1) tickled a leg-side catch behind off fast bowler Oshane Thomas in the next over, leaving Bangladesh stumbling on 133 for three.
But Bangladesh rebounded through Shakib and Das who both played splendidly to erase any chance of a West Indies win.
Shakib reached his half-century off 40 balls in the 21st over and stroked his 83rd delivery from Thomas to the cover boundary to reach his hundred in the 34th over.
Das, meanwhile, raised his fifty off 43 deliveries in the 35th over before exploding with three consecutive sixes off speedster Shannon Gabriel in the 38th over which leaked 28 runs.
And it was he who struck the winning runs in the 42nd over when he pulled the luckless Gabriel to the backward square boundary. (CMC)