One stat hints at Tamim Iqbal's importance to Bangladesh cricket -- of his 10 ODI centuries, seven have come in winning causes. His performance during his most recent century, the 160-ball 130 that set up Bangladesh's 48-run win over West Indies in Sunday's first ODI, holds ample evidence of why the team's success is often allied with Tamim's.
He put on a 207-run partnership with Shakib Al Hasan in 43 overs, a scoring rate not quite at par with the overall trend of one-day cricket. But it was the face that two of the team's most experienced players had correctly gauged the wicket that proved crucial.
After Shakib's dismissal for 97, it was Tamim's knowledge of his side's tendency to lose steam once set batsmen depart near the end of the innings that helped the cause further. He left the charge late, and along with Mushfiqur Rahim's 11-ball 30, helped score 53 runs in the last three overs.
“We had a target in mind, and we achieved that,” Tamim said after the match. “To tell the truth Mushfiqur's cameo helped us exceed that target by 15-20 runs. Mushfiqur's innings was superb and Shakib played unbelievably well. I had to work hard to score the runs.”
On a slow, spinning wicket Tamim scored the slowest hundred by a Bangladesh batsman, bringing up his ton off 146 balls. That however does not take any gloss off the achievement as his shrewd summing up of prevailing conditions was perhaps the difference between the two sides.
“Any innings that contributes to a win is special, especially today because the wicket was not easy when we came out to bat,” Tamim said. “We had to toil hard to reach a strong position. It was very hard going till the 25th over -- the ball was turning and their pacers were getting some assistance. Our plan was not to look at the scoreboard and bat as long as possible.”
He also credited skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's captaincy and bowling, which netted him figures of four for 37.
“Mashrafe bhai was superb. He used his experience and did what was required on the pitch. His captaincy was also flawless and his bowling changes were spot on.