Still alive

Marlon Samuels (right) and Kieran Powell’s 111-run partnership provided the West Indies winning platform.

DHAKA – A high quality century from Marlon Samuels and a return to bowling form for Sunil Narine propelled the West Indies to a four-wicket victory in the third One-Day International against Bangladesh at Mirpur today.

Samuels smashed 17 fours and a pair of sixes in the process of making 126 as the West Indies chased down a target of 228 with three overs to spare.†The victory kept the Windies’ hopes in the five-match series alive, although the Tigers still hold a 2-1 lead heading into the penultimate day/night contest on Friday.

After their Khulna horror show in the second ODI, where they were let down in all departments, West Indies did well to bounce back. A significant factor in their comeback was the re-emergence of Sunil Narine, who revived a disappointing tour with a four-wicket haul (4-37). He was back at his wicket-taking best, teasing the batsmen with his drift and turn, and getting the carom ball to beat the outside edge on several occasions.

West Indies needed at least one batsman to lead the way and Samuels stepped up, contributing significantly to the target. The failures of the rest, barring Kieran Powell who made 47, will however worry the West Indies.

After West Indies lost an uncharacteristically tepid Chris Gayle cheaply, Samuels and Powell settled in to add 111 for the second wicket. They managed to get on top of the bowling because they used their feet well.

A feature of Samuels’ knock was his willingness to play the ball late. He used the crease well, going back to slap it square on the off side or delicately dab it away to pick up singles. If the ball was tossed up wide outside off, he waited and crashed it off the front foot past cover. Brute power and bat speed stood out in the way he fetched his boundaries.

Batting worries

Bangladesh had an opening when Powell gifted his hand three short of a well-deserved half century and Darren Bravo fell cheaply, both perishing while trying to go over the top against the spinners. Abdur Razzak managed to sneak in two wickets as his quota came to an end, getting Dwayne Smith caught from a poor shot into the deep and bowling a clueless Kieron Pollard through the gate.

At 182 for 5 in the 40th over, the game had opened up. West Indies had just come off an ordinary batting Powerplay, scoring just 17 runs for two wickets. Samuels ensured West Indies didn’t combust, guiding the inexperienced Devon Thomas, who showed good temperament in pushing for singles to give Samuels the strike.

Samuels had a close call when he nearly chipped straight to backward point on 95 and was dropped at slip soon after. Then a tactical error cost Bangladesh when Rubel Hossain, the right-arm seamer, was given the 45th over, with West Indies needing 34. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim decided not to continue with a spinner, and by the end of the over Samuels had pillaged 24, runs including three fours and two sixes. Bangladesh’s chances receded with every boundary.

Earlier it was the Narine show. He gave West Indies the initiative by nipping out three wickets in nine balls to open the floodgates. Prior to the third one-dayer, Narine had taken only four wickets in as many matches on tour, disappointing returns for a mystery spinner who was identified as a threat before setting foot in Bangladesh.

Narine struck in his third over, inducing an edge to send back Tamim Iqbal, who shaped to cut but was squared up by the extra bounce. Naeem Islam popped a leading edge to cover, before Anamul Haque was trapped lbw with one that turned as he went forward to work it across the line.

Bangladesh had lost half their side for 116 by the 25th over, but Rahim (38) and vice-captain Mahmudullah (38) restored order with a half-century stand. Mahmudullah was the more aggressive of the two, using his feet to fetch a six over deep midwicket. Mushfiqur departed in the first over of the batting Powerplay, a period in which Bangladesh lost their way, scoring just 14 runs. Sohag Gazi chipped in with 30 at the end but the 227 total scored in 49.1 overs would eventually prove inadequate.

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