A second consecutive ton from Shakib Al Hasan helped Bangladesh thrash Windies by seven wickets in a high-scoring World Cup clash at Taunton.
Shakib’s unbeaten 124 off just 99 deliveries took centre stage as Bangladesh equalled their highest successful ODI run chase to bag their second win of the tournament.
Chasing a daunting target of 322, the Tigers were given a flying start by openers Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal who added 52 runs in no time. Sarkar was dismissed by Andre Russell but Tamim continued to march on in the company of Shakib.
The two added a quick-fire 69 for the second wicket before Tamim (48) was run-out through an excellent piece of work by Sheldon Cottrell off his own bowling. Despite Mushfiqur Rahim falling shortly after, Windies were given no respite with Shakib going on the rampage.
The left-hander pulled and cut with venom in a belligerent innings and found able support from an equally explosive Liton Das, who chipped in with a brisk 98 (70). Their unbeaten quick-fire stand of 189 saw Bangladesh romp home with as many as 51 deliveries to spare.
Earlier, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s decision to field first was immediately justified by pacer Mohammad Saifuddin who found the outside edge of Chris Gayle to dismiss the veteran for a duck.
Windies recovered from that horror start through a 116-run stand between Evin Lewis and Shai Hope with the former going on to register his first half-century of the tournament.
Lewis was dismissed by Shakib on 70 but West Indies continued to stay on the front foot with Hope holding down one end. The wicket-keeper batsman continued to build on his excellent record against Bangladesh by forging valuable stands with Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer.
Hetmyer, in particular, was in his element on Monday with the left-hander racing away to a 25-ball half century with the help of three sixes and four boundaries. His explosive stay was ended by Mustafizur Rahman, who dismissed Russell for a duck moments later.
Hope was looking good for a century but he was agonisingly dismissed on 96 by Mustafizur as Bangladesh hit back in the death overs. Lower order cameos from Jason Holder and Darren Bravo helped the Windies ultimately post 321-8.
One-dimensional Windies pay the price
It seems West Indies have only one bowling plan at the World Cup and that is to ball short and fast. It worked for them against Pakistan in the campaign opener but its effectiveness has been decreasing ever since.
At Taunton, Windies elected to go with an all-out pace attack with no spinner and paid the price on a pitch with true bounce. Bangladesh’s batsmen were prepared for the barrage of bouncers and feasted on the shorter deliveries bowled by the pacers. Even the top-edges were flying for sixes on a ground with small boundaries.
It was all too predictable from the Windies bowling attack and their problems were only compounded by a limping Russell, who struggled to get through his quota of 10 overs.
A spinner like Ashley Nurse could have been a handy option to have for the Caribbean side but their one-dimensional approach now sees their semi-final hopes hang by a bare thread.
Shakib Al Hasan
It is some tournament that the Bangladesh star all-rounder is having. Shakib was the architect of the Tigers’ win on Monday with the 32-year-old chipping in with the ball as well as the bat.
He picked up two important wickets of Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran with his left-arm orthodox spin before following it up with a with the bat. It was the fourth fifty-plus score by the southpaw in the World Cup in as many matches and he is going some way in justifying his No1 ODI all-rounder tag.
Shakib cut and pulled with aplomb against the Windies pacers who continued to bang in short and looked in supreme touch throughout his stay at the crease. Bringing up his century off just 82 balls, the all-rounder looked determined to see Bangladesh across the finish line himself
He has now gone past Australia skipper Aaron Finch as the tournament’s leading run-scorer and looks to be in the mood for many more.
Shakib completes rare double in record time
During the course of his innings, Shakib brought up 6,000 ODI runs for Bangladesh and etched his name into the record books in the process.
The left-hander has now taken the least amount of matches (202) to bring up the double of 6,000 runs and 250 wickets, destroying the record previously set by Pakistan great Shahid Afridi who achieved the feat in 294 games.
Things haven’t gone to plan for Afghanistan so far in the 2019 ICC World Cup and it is not about to get any easier with a clash against hosts and tournament favourites England coming up on Tuesday.
With four losses in as many games, Gulbadin Naib and his men are quickly becoming the whipping boys of the tournament, which had already been criticised no end for including just 10 teams.
Nobody really expected Afghanistan to perform miracles in the World Cup but no one would have predicted how bad they have been so far either. Their rise in international cricket over the past decade has been nothing short of meteoric and they had arrived in England for the tournament as a force to be reckoned with.
Armed with an impressive spin contingent comprising No1 ranked T20 bowler Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman, Afghanistan were expected to give plenty of big teams a run for their money in England.
However, it has been a campaign of woes for the Afghans, with the tournament minnows being comfortably dispatched in each of their four losses. The theme that has been common through all is their inability to hold their own with the bat.
Their batting, quite simply, has been shown up big time on the English pitches. They did put up 201 runs on the board in their campaign opener against Australia but the batting has progressively got worse since.
Their totals in the three subsequent games have been 152, 172 and 125 against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa respectively. The batting effort against Sri Lanka was particularly shoddy given that the team was chasing an attainable target of just 202 runs.
Their showing with the bat in England is in stark contrast to their 2018 Asia Cup displays in the UAE, where they regularly managed 250-plus totals against the likes of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Only one batsman – Najibullah Zadran – has managed to register a half-century so far in the World Cup and even he was then inexplicably dropped for the loss to South Africa.
There is no doubt that Afghanistan’s strength lies in its spin contingent but the batsmen have simply not given the bowlers any runs to work with. It is one of the reasons opposition batsmen have been content to see out Rashid Khan’s spell without taking too many risks and it’s resulted in the star leg-spinner picking up just three wickets so far.
Their woes have not been restricted to the field, with plenty of controversies arising outside of it as well. Their World Cup campaign had been thrown into chaos even before it began with Asghar Afghan replaced by Naib as ODI skipper just days before the start of the tournament.
That move by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) was met with resentment from key players such as Rashid and Nabi and that is never a good thing while going into a big tournament such as the World Cup.
Another controversy followed when Afghanistan’s highest ODI run-getter Mohammad Shahzad was sent home due to a knee injury. The veteran wicket-keeper has since gone on to claim to the Afghan media that he was sent home unfairly by the ACB with his injury not being that serious.
Whether Shahzad’s claims hold true remain to be seen, but it is clear that things aren’t so rosy behind the scenes for Afghanistan at this moment. Their World Cup campaign is in danger of being completely derailed and they will need to show some fight with the bat if they are to still salvage it.
They have a chance to prove how far they have come in such a short span of time but time is running out fast.
The tournament hosts and world number ones are rampant favourites on paper, with Afghanistan bottom of the standings after four defeats in four games.
But Gulbadin found some reason for cheer when watching India’s defeat of Pakistan on Sunday, which took place on the same surface and gave some encouragement for the rival spinners.
Afghanistan’s game plan is built around their star leg-spinner Rashid Khan, backed up by Mohammad Nabi and Rahmat Shah.
“We are looking for the spin, every game,” Gulbadin said on the eve of the match.
“If the wicket is like the one India and Pakistan played on, which slightly turned, with this kind of turn maybe every team is in trouble against Afghanistan.
“Not only England or others. If there is a little bit of spin there, maybe it’s a good day for Afghanistan.”
Star man Rashid is the top wicket-taker in one-day cricket in the four years since the last World Cup but has yet to impose himself on this competition, taking just three wickets at 38.
His record suggests a big performance is just around the corner and Gulbadin needs no reminding of his qualities.
“Rashid is not like other bowlers who bowl normally, he’s an attacking bowler,” said the all-rounder.
“Every time he’s attacking. But one thing that’s bad is the surfaces have not suited him. If they slightly turned, you’ll find Rashid is a key bowler and he’s also key for the success of Afghanistan.”
Gulbadin regards Jason Roy’s enforced absence from the game as a positive omen, following the Surrey man’s 89 not out in 46 balls in a pre-tournament warm-up between the sides.
“It’s good luck for us Jason Roy is not playing. Roy is one of the best players now in the world now,” he said.
“The last two years, he has been world class.”
Provided by Press Association Sports