Bangladesh were clear favourites to win the three-match ODI series against a depleted West Indies side. And so they did. The Tigers swept the series 3-0, winning all the matches convincingly.
And even though a series sweep was expected and anything otherwise would have been a shock against a side that had 10 of their first-team players opt out due to Covid concerns, there were still a number of positives to take away for Bangladesh.
Tamim Iqbal hardly put a foot wrong in his start as a long-term ODI skipper for the country. And regardless of the opposition's strength -- or the lack of it -- Tamim ensured a smooth start to the Tigers' journey in the ODI Super League -- qualification pathway to the 2023 World Cup -- by bagging all 30 points on offer. And he did it while portraying an aggressive version of captaincy.
Tamim kept constant pressure on the opposition by having a slip in place for the likes of Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud and Taskin Ahmed when there was even the slightest hint of swing, impressing many. The left-hander, however, drew most plaudits for the way he batted at the top, especially when there were speculations regarding him performing with the burden of captaincy. The 31-year-old finished as the top scorer of the series with 158 runs in three innings including two fifties.
Shakib Al Hasan's return to form was another auspicious aspect for Bangladesh. The premier all-rounder made his return to the national colours with a man-of-the-match performance in the first game with astounding figures of four for eight from 7.2 overs. His return to form with the bat following poor returns in the domestic matches was also a big relief for everyone involved.
The 33-year-old followed up his unbeaten 43 in the second ODI with an 81-ball 51 in the final game of the series yesterday in Chattogram, and was adjudged the player-of-the series for his all-round performance.
Mustafizur Rahman also returned to the groove as the left-arm paceman continuously troubled the Windies batsmen, especially bringing the new ball into the right-handers as well as taking it away, which gave the Tigers breakthrough in each of the three ODIs.
Another pacer Hasan Mahmud, whose exclusion from the starting XI in the final ODI could only have meant giving other pacers an opportunity, made a flying debut by bagging a three-for in the first ODI in Mirpur. The young right-armer certainly lived up to the hype of being the next big thing in the pace department as he troubled the Windies batsmen constantly with his pace and bounce.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz, the first-choice off-spinner, looked like getting back to his rhythm after a long time. The 23-year-old was the most successful bowler of the series with seven wickets at an average of 10.28 including a four-wicket haul, which earned him the man-of-the-match award in the second game.
Perhaps the few things that could worry Bangladesh in the upcoming tours and series is the failure of Najmul Hossain Shanto in the new role as the number three batsman and the fact that Soumya Sarkar is yet to adapt to his new position as the left-hander could only bat once at his new position -- at seven and that too in the final ODI yesterday.