Tigers throw it away yet again
It was Bangalore all over again, this time in Guayana, as Bangladesh snatched a three-run defeat from the jaws of victory in the second one-day international against the West Indies today.
It looked like Bangladesh were on course for a victory and a second series win against the West Indies on their home turf 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 in the past that they are the masters of fashioning incredible defeats from positions of absolute strength, and that was again played out before a sparse crowd at the Providence today, starting with Mahmudullah's mind-boggling run-out (39).
Mushfiqur, though, played sensibly with Sabbir Rahman and it looked like he was out to banish those past memories of failure as Bangladesh inched to within eight runs of victory with seven ball remaining.
A mis-timed flick from Sabbir (12) in the final delivery of the penultimate over looked like a minor hiccup before Mushfiqur's mis-timed pull off the first delivery of West Indies skipper Jason Holder found the man in the deep. The former captain had scored 68 off just 67 deliveries. The other batsmen, though, hardly had the guts or the 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 striking 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 a slow static and nervy progress in the middle overs as two spinners -- 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 their nerves, and with a bit of luck, weathered the storm and saw off the two spinners as Bangladesh looked certain to chase down the target, only to throw it away yet again at the end.
Earlier, an authoritative hundred from young Shimron Hetmyer and an overall drop of guard from the Bangladesh players allowed the West Indies to post a challenging total of 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 as the hosts looked to avoid a second home ODI series defeat against the Tigers.
While he had his moment of fortune, Hetmyer's performance was head and shoulders above the rest of the others on the field as the other batsmen tumbled around him despite receiving lots of favour from the Bangladesh fielders and a good amount of freebies by the bowlers.
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. Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz were hard to get away in the opening exchanges of the innings.
Mashrafe made the early breakthrough, trapping Evin Lewis in front for 12 before Mehidy struck the big blow, removing a fluent Chris Gayle for 29, trapping him in front of the leg-stump. Shai Hope gave false hope before looping a Shakib Al Hasan-delivery to short-cover while Mohammed nicked one behind against Rubel Hossain.
With an out-of-form Rovman Powell joining Hetmyer and Jason Holder, the only recognizable all-rounder -- to follow, Bangladesh should have tightened the noose around the Windies batting. But instead the Tigers dropped their guard, perpeutated by a number of misfields inside the circle and in the deep, and complemented by some rank loose deliveries from Mehidy and Mosaddek Hossain firstly, before the rest of the cast, barring Shakib, joined in.
Two run-out chances against Powell went begging while Hetmyer, batting on 79, was given a fresh life by Shakib, who missed a sitter at the boundary and knocked it out for a six. The Tigers were made to pay as the youngster bludgeoned 46 runs off the next 21 balls he 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 third and final ODI is scheduled to take place in St. Kitts and Nevis on July 28.
Scores in brief:
West Indies: 271 all out in 49.3 overs (Hetmyer 125, Powell 44, Gayle 29; Rubel 3-61, Shakib 2-45)
Bangladesh: 268 for 6 (Tamim 54, Shakib 56, Mahmudullah 39, Mushfiqur 68; Nurse 1-34, Holder 1-66)
Result: West Indies won by 3 runs