Kyle Mayers and Akeil Hosein were perhaps the only ones to absorb Sir Clive Lloyd’s inspirational letter last week, as the West Indies fell to an embarrassing 122 all out and a six-wicket defeat by Bangladesh at the Shere-e-Bangla Stadium, in the first One-Day International in Mirpur today.
Batting first after being inserted by their hosts, the rejigged West Indies line-up had no answer to the Bangladesh attack on a spin-friendly track and were dismissed in a mere 32.2 overs. Shakib Al Hasan, who was serving a one-year ban for not reporting a corrupt approach from 2019, had a fruitful return to international cricket as his 4 for 8 helped undermine the inexperienced West Indies batting. The win gave Bangladesh a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and also earned them their first points in the World Cup Super League.
On paper, it would appear to be a one-sided win for Bangladesh, but West Indies – who were fielding six debutants – had some positives to take from the game. Debutant Mayers, who struck 40, showed great promise while left-arm spinner Hosein – also playing his first ODI – spun a web around the Bangladesh top order with his variations to finish with 3 for 26. However, a target of 123 was simply too low for West Indies to keep sustaining the pressure, as Bangladesh won with 16 overs to spare. Last West Indies legend Lloyd had sent a letter urging the youngsters in the squad to make best use of the opportunity given after ten regular players had made themselves unavailable for the tour because of Covid-19 fears.
Conditions were overcast all day in Mirpur, and captain Tamim Iqbal asked West Indies to bat first. It was a decision that gave them early success as Mustafizur Rahman bagged 2 for 20, using his inswinger to trap opener Sunil Ambris lbw in the second over. After a brief rain delay, Rahman struck again to dismiss Joshua da Silva for 9 when the batsman edged a drive to Liton Das at gully, who took an acrobatic catch.
Iqbal, donning the captain’s hat in a full-time capacity for the first time, then introduced Shakib, who struck almost instantly. Andre McCarthy looked to absorb the pressure for West Indies but after his 34-ball stay of 12, swept down the wrong line and had his off stump knocked back. That was Shakib’s 150th wicket at home, and he would swiftly add two more when he had Jason Mohammed (17) stumped and Nkrumah Bonner trapped lbw for a four-ball duck.
At that stage, West Indies were 56 for 5, but a 59-run stand between Mayers and Rovman Powell took them past three-figures. After seeing off the first spell from Shakib and offspinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz, they pounced on pacers Rubel Hossain and Rahman when the duo returned for their second spells. The short balls were pulled or cut while the overpitched ones were drilled through cover, but just as it was looking dangerous, the half-century partnership was broken.
Bangladesh’s own debutant, 21-year-old pacer Hasan Mahmud, grabbed 3 for 28 and got the breakthrough. After bowling a quick first spell with no reward, he got a length ball in his second to zip off the surface and beat Powell for pace. That got Powell’s edge and found Mushfiqur Rahim’s gloves. The next ball, Mahmud came around the wicket and hit the back leg of left-hander Raymon Reifer to get his second wicket, this time lbw. He was lucky, however, with ball-tracker showing that the delivery would have gone over the stumps. Reifer, though, could not ask for the TV umpire to look at it since West Indies had already burned both reviews.
That left Mayers with the lower order to follow, but he was dismissed by Miraz from around the wicket, as the latter got the ball to turn away. Mayers’ attempted drive took the outside edge only to find Das lurking at first slip. At that point, West Indies were 121 for 8, and Das was in the action again when Hosein edged Mahmud to the slip cordon.
Thereafter, Shakib took his fourth wicket and West Indies’ last, when he got an arm ball to go through Alzarri Joseph’s defence. Shakib’s figures of 4 for 8 were the best by a Bangladesh bowler against West Indies, while the visitors’ total was their second-lowest against their hosts.
The way Iqbal and Das began the chase, the match seemed destined for a quick finish. Chemar Holder erred in his line and was punished early, conceding 26 runs in his first three overs. It allowed Bangladesh to score at over five an over for the first seven, but when Joseph began operating in partnership with Hosein later on, run-scoring became difficult.
Joseph bowled typical Test-match lines on a surface that showed some sideways movement and induced plenty of false shots from the openers, while Hosein got the ball to turn both ways to keep the batsmen guessing. Between overs seven and 12, Bangladesh scored only four runs, and the way Joseph and Hosein plugged the run-flow earned West Indies a breakthrough soon after.
Das was the first to go, out for an uncharacteristic 38-ball 14. He tried to defend a ball from Hosein that landed on middle stump at a good length, but the delivery turned away from his bat and crashed into off stump. Bangladesh’s No. 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto then looked off-colour against Hosein, unable to guess which way the ball would turn. It led to his downfall as he played at a length ball with hard hands and the ball popped in the air for midwicket to swallow.
Shakib then joined Iqbal, and together they batted conservatively as West Indies captain Mohammed introduced his own offbreaks since the surface was offering something to the spinners. Mohammed dismissed Iqbal in his fourth over when he drew the batsman forward with a full ball that turned away, only for him to be stumped for 44. Rahim and Shakib then dealt in ones and twos as Bangladesh crossed 100 in the 27th over. Hosein, however, had one last over to impress, which he did by forcing a false shot from Shakib on 19, who missed a cut off a ball aimed at the stumps.
Mahmudullah and Rahim then saw off the chase with an unbeaten stand of 20, with the former hitting a boundary off a free hit in the 34th over to take Bangladesh across the line. However, it seemed that had West Indies scored another fifty runs, the chase would have been mighty tricky.