In the end it was an easy seven-wicket victory for the Tigers against the West Indies that keeps them in contention for something significant at this World Cup after an amalgamation of improvement in every cricketing department.
They reached the 322-run target -- equaling their highest-ever successful chase in ODIs and also accomplishing the second-highest successful chase in World Cup history, with 8.3 overs to spare. Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will rightfully be touted as the hero of the match after his back-to-back ton but even though Liton Das may not quite be the unsung hero, the right-hander’s contribution to the cause will leave a mark, and indeed something any supporting batsman can learn from.
Much is expected of the seniors in the side and after Soumya Sarkar’s fiery knock at the top, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan provided the perfect foundation for Tigers to pull off an epic feat against the formidable Windies pace attack. However, after Tamim fell unfortunately and Mushfiqur Rahim followed suit soon after, the chase indeed appeared a mountain too high to surmount.
Many times, Bangladesh have stuttered from such positions and the pressure was beginning to tell, but how Liton organised his batting effort to support Shakib after the loss of two key wickets was telling.
The most spectacular facet of his innings was how unspectacularly he resorted to normalcy. Liton’s presence during the front end of that 189-run unbroken partnership was inconspicuous to say the least. It was exactly what was needed too as Shakib kept firing on all cylinders.
Liton did not waste his time trying to get in and play big shots, he dealt in singles while allowing his natural flair to take over on loose deliveries. It worked immensely well from the beginning. If Shakib had looked a bit unsettled after the loss of Tamim and Mushfiqur, the all-rounder gradually settled into a more match-winning groove, playing some immense shots to take the game away from the West Indies.
As is often the case, when a set batsman has to look to persevere during a key chase, another one has to take on the mantle of run-making responsibilities. Liton had struck just one boundary during his first 23 off 28 deliveries but he launched into the Windies bowlers when Shakib edged closer to his ton.
A magnificent slashed six over third man off Sheldon Cottrell took the partnership past 100. Having brought up his fifty and with Tigers past 250-mark, he then came into his own. He sent Shannon Gabriel thrice over the fence in consecutive deliveries to signal his and Shakib’s dominance.
He missed out on a ton, remaining unbeaten on 94 off just 69 deliveries as Bangladesh pulled off victory but, in many ways, how he paced his innings and supported Shakib was more crucial to the Tigers than just the runs he scored.