Cricket World Cup 2019: Shakib Al Hasan 124*, Liton Das 94* take Bangladesh to epic win vs West Indies
Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das stunned West Indies with a rollicking stand. © AFP

TAUNTON: The first successful chase of a target in excess of 300 at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 has been achieved. It came 23 matches into the tournament, when driven by the man for the big stage, Shakib Al Hasan, a spirited Bangladesh overhauled West Indies‘ 320 for the loss of three wickets and with 43 deliveries remaining at Taunton’s County Ground on Monday.

A chase of 321 was possible because of Bangladesh’s greatest cricketer. When Shakib walked out to bat in the ninth over of Bangladesh’s chase, the required rate was touching 6.5 an over. His 124* off 99 balls kept up the tempo brilliantly and put will send Bangladesh to Nottingham, where Australia await, on a definite high.

Partnering him to a heroic finish was Liton Das, who clubbed 94*off 69 balls in a partnership of 189 in 22.3 overs that made West Indies’ attack look distinctly ordinary. West Indies played five pace bowlers, and therein lay a problem despite having posted 320. Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel and Andre Russell were ordinary on a flat batting deck, and bereft of ways to stop Shakib and Liton from hurrying the end.

All this shoved firmly into the background a well-anchored 96 off 121 balls from Shai Hope, the axis around which  Evin Lewis (70), Shimron Hetmyer (50 off 26 balls) and Jason Holder (33 off 15 balls) revolved.

This is Bangladesh’s second win of the World Cup, and with five points they are now at fifth place on the leaderboard. Head-to-head in ODIs against West Indies, Bangladesh are now 8-2 over the past two years.

(SCORECARD: WEST INDIES vs BANGLADESH)

Tamim Iqbal thrilled the large dosage of Bangladesh fans with some cracking shots during his 53-ball 48, which came to an abrupt halt in the 18th over when Sheldon Cottrell intercepted a drive in his follow-though and hit the stumps to get the batsman just short of the crease. Until that moment of brilliance from Cottrell, Tamim had set himself up for a big innings. His cutting and driving, in particular, were cracking as he laid a start worth 52 in 8.1 overs with Soumya Sarkar, who made 29 off 23 balls.

Tamim was joined by Shakib once Sarkar, the ball after he cut Andre Russell over point for six, steered to slip. Shakib dominated a stand of 69 with Tamim. His horizontal bat shots were mostly electric, the pick being a rattling pull for four off Oshane Thomas. Twice in his next over Thomas offered width, and Shakib laced fours between third man and deep point.

That over ended, however, with Thomas getting Mushfiqur Rahim to glance down the pads to Hope for 1.

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Shakib’s half-century came up off 40 balls, and moments later he looked on as a top edge landed safely in between Hope and the fine leg fielder. Shakib’s ability to score boundaries kept Bangladesh ticking along. The slightest sign of a full delivery elicited thumped drives down the ground. When the ball was banged in, he pulled superbly. Three fours in one Shannon Gabriel moved Shakib from 68 to 81. Then he top-edged Holder over Hope for four.

The Bangladesh fans in Taunton loved every bit of it.

Liton, repeatedly spoken to by Shakib, blossomed the more he hung around. Chris Gayle was hit for two fours in an over, Cottrell uppercut for six. His fifty needed 43 balls.

When Shakib punched Thomas into the cover for the boundary that gave him a century in 83 balls, Liton was quick to meet him and embrace. The rest of the chase was fuelled by Liton, who hit Gabriel for three successive sixes in the 38th over. The winning runs came from Liton, a pull off Gabriel’s bowling.

Shai Hope World Cup
Shai Hope’s 96 off 121 balls was the fulcrum of West Indies’ total in Taunton. © AFP

Earlier, Hope tucked singles with regularity to get his more free-scoring team-mates on strike, and the result was that West Indies put up their fourth-highest total in a World Cup match. Sixteen wides added to that, significantly.

Gayle’s 13-ball 0 set them back, but a partnership of 116 between Lewis and the reliable Hope gave the team a solid base from which they could attempt a surge in the last ten overs. Lewis clattered six fours and two sixes in his 67-ball 70, while Hope dropped anchor. Lewis hit Mashrafe Mortaza for six and four to force Bangladesh’s skipper out of the attack after seven overs, and then settled into nudging the ball around to raise his first fifty of the tournament, off 58 balls.

Shakib’s first 13 deliveries cost 24 runs as Lewis tore into him, but the crafty allrounder had Lewis and Nicholas Pooran dismissed when attempting further sixes.

Hope took a backseat as Hetmyer cut and pulled with ferocity to a 25-ball half-century, especially harsh on Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Mustafizur, however, had Hetmyer and Russell dismissed in one over to raise Bangladesh’s mood.

Holder’s 15-ball 33 helped add quick runs to West Indies’ total, but the dismissal of Hope for 96, out flicking Mustafizur straight to deep square leg to miss a fourth hundred against Bangladesh, proved a blow. A couple sixes to Darren Bravo, some needless wides and a misfield helped West Indies to 321, which on the day proved well short.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 322/3 in 41.3 overs (Shakib 124*, Liton 94*) beat West Indies 321/8 in 50 overs (Hope 96, Lewis 70, Hetmyer 50) by seven wickets