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Marlon’s the man

Marlon Samuels blasted the Bangladeshi bowling for nine sixes.

DHAKA – It rained runs at Mirpur today; 376 to be exact. And by the time the batsmen on both sides had finished plunder 30 boundaries and 21 sixes in 40 overs,

West Indies emerged with a relatively comfortable 18-run victory over Bangladesh in their one-off International Twenty20 encounter. The innings that made the difference in the match was a splendid cameo by Marlon Samuels – a breathtaking 85 off just 43 deliveries that took West Indies to a mammoth 197. That total ultimately proved a bit too much for the Bangladeshi batsmen, despite a gallant effort by Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bat before a packed stadium and there were thousands outside waiting to get in. The atmosphere was electrifying.

Suhag Gazi opened the attack for the hosts. Dwayne Smith smashed the fifth ball of the innings for a six. The right-hander took the initiative and got a flurry of boundaries. Rubel Hossain was hit for two boundaries in the third over before producing a peach of a delivery to get rid of the dangerous Chris Gayle for just 6.

Rubel produced a carbon copy of the Gayle dismissal and sent Smith packing for 24 off 21 deliveries. Darren Bravo began his innings in ominous fashion with a lovely cover drive off Hossain for four. He then slammed Shafiul Islam for two consecutive fours in the last over of the powerplay.

Mahmudullah was taken to the cleaners by Bravo and Samuels in the 9th over – the right-arm off-break bowler was hit for a couple of sixes. Bravo then smashed Abdur Razzak for 11 in the 10th over of the innings. West Indies had moved to 81/2 at the half-way mark. The partnership was threatening to take the game away from the hosts before Suhag Gazi got rid of Darren Bravo stumped by captain Mushfiqur Rahim for 40 off 26 deliveries.

Making chances count

Samuels was give two reprieves at the wicket off Ziaur Rahman and made them count. Kieron Pollard hit Gazi for a couple of sixes in the 14th over but Rahman bowled him in the next over. Samuels then completely changed gears. He got stuck into Razzak and clobbered him for a couple of sixes in the 16th. He then took 17 of the next over from Hossain.

Cricket can be a cruel game but it is a great leveller. After picking up the initial couple of wickets with nearly unplayable deliveries, Rubel Hossain was being given the lesson of his life from Samuels. The hapless bowler was hit for four 4 sixes and a boundary off the last over. West Indies had soared to 197 for 4 off their allotted 20 overs. Samuels’ breathtaking unbeaten 85 off 43 deliveries included nine massive sixes. He had completely demoralised Bangladesh and silenced the capacity crowd. Hossain was massacred for 63 off his 4 overs.

Bangladesh began in emphatic style. Anamul Haque and Tamim Iqbal took 17 off the first over by Darren Sammy. The former then hammered Kemar Roach for a boundary straight past the bowler. Andre Russell was welcomed by Iqbal and carved for three consecutive boundaries in the third over – the bowler conceding 17 in his first over. Bangladesh had raced to 43 after three overs.

Roach gave the visitors the crucial first breakthrough when he got rid of Haque for 22 off 12 deliveries. The scoring dipped a little but Bangladesh were up with the rate. Sammy was hit by Mahmudullah for a huge six and then Iqbal carved him for a four in the 10th.

Iqbal reached his half-century off just 40 deliveries and along with Mahmudullah had put up a half-century stand for the second wicket. Bangladesh had moved to 106 for 1 after 13 overs. The two batsmen, although well set, were unable to get the better of Gayle’s off-spin and a few tight overs saw the required run-rate climb. Bangladesh now needed 78 off the last 5. Something had to give. Tamim smashed the previously miserly Sunil Narine for a 6,6 and 4 in the 16th over, taking 19 off the over. It was now 59 required off the last 4 overs.

But Gayle produced a fantastic last over, conceding just 3 to put the game beyond Bangladesh. He might not have made a major score but the muscular Jamaican gave away just 18 runs off his 4 overs and did not concede a boundary in his spell. Roach just gave away seven off the 18th over and 49 runs were needed of the last 2.

Iqbal smashed Samuels for two boundaries off the first two deliveries of the 19th but the bowler fought back well. Bangladesh started the final over needing 37 to win, a mathematical impossibility barring no-balls or wides and the game was basically sealed. Iqbal remained unbeaten on 88 off 61 deliveries and Mahmudullah was there at the end on 64 off 48 balls with the hosts on 179 for 1. Samuels, predictably, was adjudged the man-of- the-match.

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