The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is proving to be a tournament of milestones for Shakib Al Hasan. Bangladesh’s ace all-rounder took his 250th wicket in the game against South Africa. Against West Indies, he went past 6000 runs and smashed his ninth century, his second consecutive in the ICC Cricket World Cup. Shakib’s brilliant century and his 189-run stand with Liton Das, who smashed a blazing 94 helped Bangladesh achieve the joint-second highest chase in World Cups to trounce the West Indies by seven wickets in Taunton on Monday. In 2015, Bangladesh had chased down 322 against Scotland but against the West Indies, their exhibition of clinical hitting was a sight to behold.
Chasing 322, Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar came out with attacking intent. West Indies’ pacers, probably still hung over from the bouncer barrage they dished out to Pakistan, tried the same ploy but in Taunton, it yielded a different result. Soumya Sarkar got going with a boundary and a six off Sheldon Cottrell and the bowler buckled under pressure by conceding five wides as Bangladesh started brilliantly. After hitting a six off Andre Russell, the bowler had his revenge when Sarkar looked to steer a short ball but Chris Gayle at slip made no mistake.
Tamim looked in good touch and Shakib also cashed in on some loose bowling as he became the second Bangladesh batsman after Tamim to go past 6000 runs. However, a moment of individual brilliance from Cottrell saw Tamim run-out for 48. Shakib smashed two boundaries off Oshane Thomas but Mushfiqur Rahim was strangled down the leg side for 1 and it seemed a fight was on the cards.
Shakib and Liton then steadied the ship and the left-hander was lucky to escape a catch. Shakib top-edged Russell but the ball landed safely with neither Shai Hope nor Shannon Gabriel going for the catch. West Indies conceded extras and the shackles were broken when Shakib smashed three boundaries off Gabriel. With Shakib nearing his ton, Liton blasted a six off Cottrell as Bangladesh looked to chase this quickly. Shakib drilled a full ball from Thomas to the deep extra cover fence to notch up his ton and what followed was carnage.
Liton blasted three sixes off Gabriel after going past his fifty and the game ended in grand style when Liton pulled Gabriel to the fine leg fence to seal a great chase and pose West Indies lots of questions, especially after the batsmen had put up a fine display of power hitting.
Having won the toss earlier, Bangladesh inserted West Indies in and they reaped immediate success when Mohammad Saifuddin got rid of Chris Gayle for 0. Evin Lewis looked in good touch and he signalled his intentions with a big six off Mashrafe Mortaza. Shai Hope played the sheet anchor role to perfection while Lewis found the boundary on a regular basis.
Lewis reached his fifty and blasted two fours and a six off Shakib but the all-rounder got his revenge when the batsman holed out to substitute Sabbir Rahman at long off for 70. Nicholas Pooran also threatened with some solid hits but Shakib sent him back for 25. That brought out Shimron Hetmyer who changed the momentum of the game with some towering hits.
The youngster blasted a four and a six off Mustafizur Rahman and he was on his way with two big sixes off Saifuddin. When Hetmyer launched Mosaddek Hossain for a 104 metre six over deep midwicket, the youngster notched up the joint-fastest fifty in the 2019 tournament with a fifty off 25 balls. Mustafizur, who had a bad first spell, came back and got rid of Hetmyer and Andre Russell in the same over to give Bangladesh hope. Jason Holder, though, had other ideas and he slammed a six and a four off Shakib to signal his intentions.
Holder bettered Hetmyer’s big hit with a 105-meter six off Mortaza but when he mistimed a full toss off Saifuddin for 33, West Indies’ hopes of reaching 350 evaporated. Although Darren Bravo struck some big hits and got West Indies to 321/8, in the end, the display by Bangladesh’s batsman proved that it was not enough.