All over again | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:55 AM, July 27, 2018

All over again

It was Bangalore 2016 all over again, this time in Guyana, as Bangladesh snatched a three-run defeat from the jaws of victory in the second one-day international against the West Indies yesterday.

The Tigers had looked on course for a thrilling victory and a second series win against the West Indies in the Caribbean when Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad steadied a rocking boat and guided them close to their target of 272 with seven wickets in hand and 40 needed off the last five overs.

But the Tigers had shown time and again that they are the masters of fashioning incredible defeats from positions of absolute strength, and a similar sort of debacle played out again before a sparse crowd at the Providence Stadium yesterday, starting with Mahmudullah's mind-boggling run-out after an 87-run fourth-wicket stand.

The hard-hitting batsman seemed to have lost his wits as he charged down frantically when Mushfiqur, the man on strike, had barely had the time to look at his partner after suffering a blow to the midriff from West Indies skipper Jason Holder's short ball. Mahmudullah was more than halfway down the track, with no chance of making it back to the crease.

That was probably the first sign of Bangladesh hitting the panic button since the pair got together, but it was certainly not the last.

Mushfiqur, though, played sensibly and looked like he was out to banish those past memories of failure, including the one from that infamous defeat against India in the 2016 World T20, when Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur departed after bringing the equation down to just two from three balls.

But with eight runs needed off the last seven balls, Sabbir Rahman's premeditation cost him as he hit a low full toss from Keemo Paul in the air to deep midwicket. Then came the decisive blow as Mushfiqur repeated the exact same shot that had brought his demise on many a crucial occasion -- pulling a wayward full-toss from Holder down the throat of midwicket after having played so sensibly for his 67-ball 68.

The other batsmen hardly had the guts or skill to eke out the eight remaining runs off the last five deliveries.

The end of the innings was a far cry from the start as Bangladesh smashed 71 off the first seven overs, with Anamul Haque departing for 23 off nine before Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan feasted on some wayward bowling from the West Indian pacers.

The explosive start gave way to slow and nervy progress in the middle overs as Ashley Nurse and Devendra Bishoo spun their web around the batting, utilising the increasing turn and bounce off the pitch, and eventually forcing two injudicious strokes from Tamim (54) and Shakib (56) in quick succession.

But Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah took their time, calmed the nerves, and with a bit of luck, saw off the two spinners as Bangladesh looked certain to chase down the target, only to throw it away again at the end.

Earlier, an authoritative hundred from young Shimron Hetmyer and an overall drop of the guard from the Bangladesh players allowed the hosts to post a challenging 271 after they were sent in to bat by Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.

Hetmyer followed up his excellent half-century from the first match with a 93-ball 125 -- the second ODI hundred for the 21-year-old left-hander -- to salvage a nose-diving innings and take it to a fighting total.

The former Windies U-19 skipper, who was the last man to be dismissed while trying to steal a double on the third delivery of the final over, built a 103-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Rovman Powell before taking charge all by himself and launching into a late assault.

But it had looked like West Indies would have been bowled out for a much lower score when Jason Mohammed became the fourth batsman to be dismissed with the scoreboard reading 103 for four after 24 overs.

With an out-of-form Powell joining Hetmyer and Jason Holder -- the only recognizable all-rounder -- to follow, Bangladesh should have tightened the noose around the Windies batting. Instead they started giving away singles and doubles through misfields, which was complemented by some rank loose deliveries from most of the bowlers.

Two run-out chances against Powell went begging while Hetmyer, batting on 79, given a fresh life by Shakib who missed a sitter at the boundary and parried it over for six. The Tigers were made to pay as the youngster bludgeoned 46 runs off the next 21 balls faced.

Rubel was Bangladesh's most successful bowler with  three wickets but he was also the most expensive, giving away 61 runs in nine overs -- his last over costing 22 -- reminiscent of the infamous penultimate over in the Nidahas Trophy final against India and reflecting the apparent lack of ideas of Bangladesh's bowling unit when under pressure.

The decisive third ODI will take place in St. Kitts and Nevis on July 28.

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