Bangladesh clinch see-sawing game to pull level

WI v Ban, 2nd T20, Report

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Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan did the job with the bat before the bowlers kept their calm to stop the Windies 12 short in second Twenty20 International.

It was a heart-stopper all right, the second game of the three-match series, going down all the way to the last over before Bangladesh held their nerves and the world champions didn’t. Asked to bat first, the visitors put up 171/5 riding on rapid half-centuries from Iqbal and Shakib. The Windies were in the game for long stretches of their chase, but eventually finished on 159/9.

The action was in the United States of America, at Lauderhill in Florida, and Bangladesh, 1-0 down after a deflating loss in the first game, were asked to take first strike.

Unlike the first game, when Ashley Nurse got first go with the ball and picked up two wickets in the first over, Samuel Badree had the new ball this time. But Nurse still struck in his first over, Liton Das sending him to Carlos Brathwaite at extra cover.

And then Nurse got Mushfiqur Rahim in his second over, a reverse sweep going straight to point, where Andre Russell took the catch.

Soumya Sarkar, batting at No.4 in a rejigged batting order, also didn’t last long, but then Iqbal got Shakib for company, and the two changed the complexion of the game completely. In just more than eight overs together, Iqbal and Shakib slammed 90 runs to put Bangladesh firmly in the driver’s seat and put them on course for 1-1.

Tamim Iqbal’s 74 from 44 balls was studded with six fours and four sixes
After the defeat in the first T20I, Shakib had talked about having someone like Russell in the Bangladesh side, someone who can turn the match around single-handedly. On the day, he did a fine impersonation, and Iqbal was not much different.

Shakib was the early aggressor, a couple of boundaries in the 10th over, bowled by Keemo Paul, was followed by three in one over from Kesrick Williams. The runs kept coming, Rovman Powell dropping Iqbal not helping the Windies either, and Iqbal made it better for Bangladesh with a 22-run over off Russell – the sequence of 6, 0, 6, 4, 6 ending with ‘W’ as Iqbal holed out at long-on after scoring a 44-ball 74.

The Bangladesh captain, however, carried on till the last over, getting to his first T20I half-century since 2016, before falling in the last over for 60, scored off just 38 balls.

Ashley Nurse picked up two wickets early again
Much like Nurse had done with the Bangladeshis, Mustafizur Rahman had also sent back the Windies openers cheaply in the first T20I, and this time too, he struck in his first two overs – Evin Lewis out LBW and Russell edging behind to Rahim after a 10-ball 17.

That left the Windies on 33/2, and they couldn’t really get a move on when they lost Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin too, Shakib getting rid of the former and Rubel Hossain the latter.

It was tricky terrain, with neither Andre Fletcher nor Powell quite able to get a move on, and the total was 76/4 at the halfway stage – 96 needed from 60.

Shakib Al Hasan brought up his first T20I half-century as captain for Bangladesh
Someone needed to take the initiative, and Powell did that in the 14th over, making the most of a drop by Ariful Haque to slam Abu Hider for back-to-back sixes, to bring the equation down to 62 from 36, very gettable if they kept their heads. Fletcher couldn’t, a six off Nazmul Islam was followed by a wild swing that only got a top-edge through to Shakib, and Fletcher was gone for 43 in 38 balls, leaving the Windies at 116/5 and captain Brathwaite in the middle with Powell.

It was getting tricky, and soon after he hit Rahman for a muscular six, Brathwaite was gone, his opposite number Shakib getting the big man to hole out at long-on, where Das took a smart catch. It was an outstanding over, in fact, as Shakib conceded just three runs, and the Windies now needed 39 from 18.

Mustafizur Rahman picked up two early wickets on his way to returns of 3/50
Unfortunately for the Windies, Powell didn’t get too much of the strike around this phase, Hossain putting in another excellent eight-run over, and when Powell got to swing one, Shakib put down a chance running back at cover.

The pressure was clearly on, and it told when Powell swung hard at a short one angled across from Rahman, nicking to Rahim, who held an excellent catch to send the danger man back for 43 in 34 balls.

But it was still not over, as Nurse swung Rahman for six and four off the last two balls of penultimate over, to leave 15 runs to get off the last over. But Islam was outstanding, as kept his cool to trump the Windies lower-order hitters. Nurse and Paul both perished in trying to go big, and Islam conceded just two runs, and Bangladesh had won their first game after five losses in a row.

The third game will be played at the same venue on Monday.