Team tigers need changing gear

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2019-05-14
Team tigers need changing gear

Tri Nation ODI Series 
Bangladesh Vs West Indies played at Village Malahide at Dublin in Ireland 

Brief Scorecard 

Bangladesh 248/5 ( Mushfiqur Rahim 82, Soumya Sarkar (54 ), Mohammad Mithun 43, Mahmudullah Riyad 30*, Shakib Al Hasan 29, Tamim Iqbal 29  AR Nurse 3/53),  beat West Indies  247/9 ( Shai Hope 87, Jason Holder 62, MustafizurRahman 4/47, Mashrafee Bin Murtaza 3/60)  by  5 wickets 
Man of the Match: Mustafizur Rahman

Favorite Bangladesh sprinted to the final of the tri nation ODI series punching West Indies twice to the floor. Mysterious Mustafiz in support of fellow bowlers crafted choking of the free flowing West Indies. Majestic Mushfiq smoothened the chase to a below par West Indies set target of 248 in holding on to the winning momentum. 

West Indies through inconsistent bowling and butter fingers while catching not looking in good shape at all. With a game to spare, Bangladesh and West Indies have set a date for the final of the tri nation tournament reducing the host Ireland to spectators.

Winning the toss and opting to bat West Indies found a very well primed Bangladesh attack making runs hard to come by. Mustafiz found his magic lamp, Mashrafee continued on his wicket taking gear, Shakib and Mehedy tightened the grip on the neck of middle order in the middle overs.

Free flowing WI batting appeared lost in quick sand. A score of 247/9 was not going to test resurging Bangladesh. A great team effort ably steered by magical Mushfiq (63)  and Soumya (54)  and ably supported by Mithun (43), Mahmudullah ( 30*), Shakib (29) and Tamim (21) cruised them to second win against West Indies in the tournament with ease and comfort.

Bangladesh won by 5 wickets scoring 248/5 in 47.2 overs. Bangladesh with 10 points in three matches leads the pack. West Indies with two wins against home team would appear in the final with 9 points from 4 matches. Ireland could manage only 2 points graced from rain abandoned encounter against Bangladesh. The last match between Bangladesh and Ireland is now a mere formality.

While Bangladesh is looking good with momentum, West Indies has lot to bother. Only Shai Hope continued with his prime form with the bat. Middle order and late order batting look pretty ordinary. Batsmen struggle against spin attack. Bowling looks ordinary and fielding is atrocious. But this is West Indies. One day they fire in all cylinders, the following day they bite the dust. Hope, Gayle, Lewis, Pooran, Hetmeyer and Russel would inject new vive to the team in the World Cup. West Indies might be missing a quality spinner like Sunil Narine one or two better all rounder.

West Indies found going far more difficult against diverse bowling attack of Bangladesh than ease and comfort of batting against less penetrative Ireland. Shai Hope in the form of his life was picture perfect though. Abu Jayed Rahi in his ODI debut for Bangladesh however looked lot nervy. Captain Mashrafee struck the first blow removing Sunil Ambris to a good catch of Soumya in the slip.

Mehedy Miraj then chipped in trapping listless Bravo LBW. Mustafiz who could hardly pitch a ball in the right spot in earlier match appeared with his A game. His subtle variation, famous slow cutter soon injected venom in Bangladesh attack. Two quick wickets reduced West Indies to 97/4. However, Hope was looking solid and unnerved. 

This time Holder was his companion in the resurrection act. But Shakib and Miraj put the leash on them very effectively. Runs were very difficult to come by. Still these two set a foundation with a 100 runs fifth wicket partnership. When things were looking ominous, Mashrafee in his second spell accounted for Holder and Hope in quick succession taking the air out of West Indies sail.

Mustafiz coming back in the death overs bowled superbly unleashing his famous slow cutters too often. West Indies could reach 247/9 in allotted overs. Mustafiz got 4/47. More importantly he has started getting back his sweet touch and usual rhyme. 

Mashrafee continued his customary wicket taking ability at the right moment with 3/60. Bangladesh spinners looked miserly as usual. Shakib  (1/27) and Miraj (1/41) putting brakes in the middle overs facilitated death over bowlers restricting the West Indies to below par scores. In their 20 overs spinners managed getting 2 wickets giving away 68 runs. Shakib looked very special.

Bangladesh was not at all challenged in the chase. Inform Soumya was set about the business in usual aggressive mode. His effort was helped by West Indian fielders dropping catches offered. However, getting his second fifty would ease many nerves in Bangladesh camp and answer many questions. 

Hope he gets lesson from these two innings. Better teams won’t let off chances he offers from gay cavalier approach. Tamim and Shakib got into gears but could not get far. 

Mushfiq looked solid and Mithun getting a reprieve from a run out opportunity cashed in with a good innings. Mahmudullah also got some useful batting practice. However none of the top five could carry their bat to a large score. 

In matches against stronger oppositions the set batsmen must carry on for assisting in achieving significantly larger scores. In the end Bangladesh won comfortably by 5 wickets. None of the Windies bowlers but Nurse looked at all impressive with the ball. West Indies dropped as many as 5 catches. West Indies need much more disciplined approach in bowling and fielding.

The situation would allow Bangladesh making few experiments with the squad. Saifuddin and Rubel should be given a go. Sabbir got to be promoted in the batting order for some batting practice. Can Bangladesh try Taskin with the ball against Ireland? 

A fully fit Taskin should get into the squad. There will be no better opportunity than unleashing him against Ireland. But Bangladesh must not loose winning momentum in trying too many experiments. 
Winning is a great habit. Great that Bangladesh is on the winning mode. Mashrafee is in the threshold of becoming the most successful ODI captain. He has equaled Rahul Dravid, the Wall of India famed Indian captain with 41 ODI wins as captain. One more win would let him set the record. 

On the day he counted an over wrong. The best bowler of the day Mustafiz bowled an over less than his quota.

Business as usual should get them through and winning the cup. Winning the series would give a great fillip to Bangladesh cause in ICC World Cup. But we do not think either this West Indies or Ireland is as good as any of WC contestants. 

Bangladesh need more penetration in pace attack, needs early breakthrough at the start and consistency in batting and bowling in the death overs.

Bangladesh needs changing gears as well. In all probabilities the ensuing world cup would see high scoring matches. 300 plus scores may be more often chased. Set batsmen must not throw out wickets and one or two top order batsmen must carry innings deep carrying on the momentum. 

BDST: 1127 HRS, MAY 14, 2019

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