|| CF Correspondent ||
Shakib Al Hasan came up with a sterling performance against West Indies to script the side’s comprehensive seven-wicket victory which kept them alive in the World Cup semifinal race.
The ace all-rounder struck a scintillating 99 ball-124 not out, his second straight ton in World Cup before claiming 2-54 at the Coopers Associates County Ground in Taunton on Monday to make it a one-man show.
West Indies compiled a hefty 321-8 which Bangladesh gunned down with utmost ease, reaching the winning target of 322-3 in just 41.3 overs.
That they kept 51 balls unused to reach the target registering their highest successful chase in ODI history, showed Bangladesh’s utter domination.
With this second victory in the cricket’s biggest carnival, Bangladesh now have five points in five games, taking them to the fifth position of the point table.
Liton Das smashed 69 ball-94 not out and shared a record 189-run with Shakib for an undefeated fourth wicket partnership to make the contest a one-sided affair.
Tamim Iqbal was the other notable scorer with 48 while Soumya Sarkar made 26.
Shakib brought up his ninth ODI century off just 83 balls, with a picture-esque cover-drive for a boundary. And by doing so, he brought up his second successive ton in World Cup, to emulate Mahmudullah Riyad who also struck consecutive century against England and New Zealand in 2015 World Cup.
It was also Shakib’s fourth straight fifty plus knock in this edition.
He gave the chase an impetus after the early dismissal of Soumya Sarkar in the chase of big target.
Earlier in 2015 World Cup they chased down Scotland’s 318 by making 322-4. But as West Indies piled up 321, it was considered Bangladesh’s highest successful chase.
Shakib along with Tamim steadied the ship with 69-run for the second wicket stand after which Bangladesh experienced mini collapse.
While Tamim was run-out by a direct throw off Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas had Mushfiqur caught out by wicket-keeper Shai Hope for 1 to force Bangladesh losing two wickets for 11 runs.
If there was any doubt of Bangladesh’s victory, Liton Das and Shakib put an end to it by showing a wavering resolve in hunting down the big total.
Both of them were benefited by West Indies’ sloppy fielding and wayward bowling and also survived at least twice when their fielders shelled some easy catches.
But they dealt the West Indian pacers short balls, which was believed to cause trouble, with utmost ease and patience, showing the rest of the world the short balls are no longer an issue for them.
While Shakib astutely kept the chase in track, Liton Das who replaced Mithun in the side showed his value with typical aggressive knock.
Their 189-run for the fourth wicket is now a record in this stand, eclipsing the 175-run by Rajin Saleh and Habibul Bashar Sumon against Kenya in 2006.
Liton’s three straight sixes off Shanon Gabriel was a treat to watch, which hastened the victory.
Liton who clattered eight fours and fours sixes in his delightful knock fittingly finished the game with a powerful pull for a boundary to bring up their eighth victory against the Caribbean side in last 10 games.
Shakib who also reached the milestone of 6000-run when he was on 23 as second Bangladeshi batsman after Tamim Iqbal, smote 16 boundaries.
But the match-winning knock was not the only contribution of Shakib in this match as he claimed 2-54 in West Indian innings to make it a match to remember for him.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza won the toss and opted to bowl first at the Coopers Associates County Ground of Taunton, which is the smallest ground in England.
The decision seemed to be right when Bangladeshi pacers stifled the Caribbean side’s for runs that resulted the dismissal of dangerous Chris Gayle, who edged one to a moving delivery of Saifuddin to be dismissed for a duck, after playing 13 balls.
Shai Hope kept West Indies in track, continuing his rich vein of form against Bangladesh as he hit his sixth straight 50 plus knock against the Tigers and struck a valuable 96.
Opener Evin Lewis struck a 67 ball-70, hitting six fours and two sixes while Shimron Hetmyer hammered 50 off just 26, smashing four fours and three sixes, including one that was 104 meter and disappeared over the stand.
It was the longest six of the tournament until his captain Jason Holder broke the record just after 15 minutes, smashing one over deep mid-wicket that was 105-meter long.
Holder’s 15 ball-33 runs knock was studded by four fours and two sixes.
Mustafizur Rahman (9-0-59-3) and Saifuddin (10-1-72-3) claimed three wickets apiece.