Bangladesh opener Anamul Haque lets out a huge roar after reaching his hundred during the first One Day International against the West Indies at the Grenada National Cricket Stadium in St. George's on Wednesday. Anamul's 109 helped Bangladesh post a challenging score of 217 for nine in 50 overs. PHOTO: AFP
If the Tigers were worried about their ODI record this year before yesterday's game then their level of anxiety would have doubled after the match. This is the second time this year that Bangladesh have lost after having come so close to victory. After 15 overs of the second innings, with the hosts struggling at 34 for 5, Bangladesh would have thought that the game was done and dusted.
Surely a repeat of the disaster that took place in Mirpur earlier this February -- where the Tigers had reduced Sri Lanka to 67 for 8 and went on to lose the game -- could not have been on the cards again.
However, an outstanding century stand between Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard for the sixth wicket, which saw them hammer 145 runs in 21.5 overs, turned the match in a jiffy and led the West Indies to a tense three-wicket win over the visitors with more than ten overs remaining.
Anamul Haque's gritty century had earlier helped Bangladesh post 217 for nine after being put in to bat.
With the average score at the National Stadium hovering around the 260s, the hosts would not have had much to worry about.
But a brilliant opening spell from Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Shohag Gazi – giving away only ten runs for one wicket in the first six overs -- put the pressure right back on the hosts.
Runs became hard to come and the pressure started to build on the hosts as they lost three wickets in the space of three overs.
Darren Bravo edged one to the keeper in the tenth, Kirk Edwards attempted an audacious sweep shot against Mahmudullah Riyad only to get bowled in the next over and then Al-Amin Hossain came back to remove in-form Lendl Simmons with another outswinger. An over later Dwayne Bravo, West Indies' highest run-scorer this year, lazily pulled one to deep mid-wicket and the hosts found themselves in a precarious position at 34 for 5.
However, that's where Bangladesh's domination began to recede.
Ramdin and Pollard, both in-form, fine hitters of the ball, launched a brilliant counter-attack. It began with Pollard smacking Al-Amin straight back down the ground right before drinks break in the 16th over. That was followed by Taskin Ahmed getting smacked for 20 runs in three overs. The pacer did manage to clock the fastest ball of the game -- 145.6 km/hr -- but struggled with his line. Ramdin joined in the party in the 19th over by launching Mahmudullah for a six over long-off.
Pollard ended up hammering 89 off 70 balls while Ramdin was bowled by Gazi after scoring a 76-ball 74.
The runs continued to pile on and by the end of the 30th over they needed just 81 more runs to win. A target they achieved despite losing both Pollard and Ramdin towards the end.
Anamul's third ODI century was the only bright spot in Bangladesh batting. On a slow track, the opener was the only Bangladesh batsman to judge the nature of the wicket and milk the runs while the majority of the top order threw their wickets away trying to increase the run-rate.
After getting a few streaky boundaries down the third-man in the initial stages, Anamul dabbed Chris Gayle for a single to reach his 50 off 74 balls in the 28th over. Seven of his 12 boundaries came in the last eight overs of the game. He reached his century in the 49th over with a thumping drive on the off side off Ravi Rampaul. Anamul smacked West Indies' premier pacer for two more boundaries before getting trapped in front off Dwayne Bravo in the last ball of the innings.