It was Shai Hope’s tremendous century that proved to be the difference in the do-or-die fixture for the West Indies as they turned things around to level the ODI series 1-1, going into the third ODI in Sylhet.
Bangladesh did not capitalise on the good start they got as they fell atleast 15 to 20 runs short of what should have been the desired total.
Yet, Bangladesh had looked like they would clinch the series here especially after they started getting breakthroughs on a regular basis from the 30th over onwards. Mustafizur Rahman removed Marlon Samuels after a 62-run third-wicket partnership between him and Shai Hope had threatened to take the game away from the Tigers. Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell and Roston chase fell quickly after that and Tigers had the upper hand with 71 runs needed in 11 overs.
However, Hope stood between the Tigers and victory to seize the match from Bangladesh’s hold. In a wicket where Bangladesh top-order had gotten starts but failed to capitalize, Hope played a blinding 144-ball unbeaten 146-run knock -- his highest ODI score – to give West Indies a chance of turning things around and clinching the series. His brilliant ton under pressure in a tight match, laced with 12 fours and three sixes ensured did not go in vain after he had seen two matches where he had struck tons, end in ties.
Earlier, Bangladesh did not fully capitalise on the perfect platform provided by a 111-run third-wicket partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. Opener Liton Das was felled by an Oshane Thomas yorker that struck him on an unprotected right ankle and he had to retire hurt on five in the second over. Imrul Kayes’s problems against the high pace of Thomas were exposed yet again -- he was late on the ball to be bowled in the first ODI -- as he was out to a tame poke outside off stump off the bowling of Thomas to be caught behind in the fourth over.
Mushfiqur joined Tamim with the score on 15, who put the pressure back on West Indies with two boundaries in the next two overs -- a one-bounce four to midwicket off a Keamr Roach free-hit and a clip through the same region off Thomas. Mushfiqur turned Thomas off his hips for four in the pacer’s next over and Tamim consolidated the early initiative by hitting Keemo Paul for a six -- off another free hit -- over long on in the 11th over. He followed that with a straight driven four that showed his class and also that the wicket was more easy-paced one than the one for the first match.
With a square-cut boundary off Paul in the 13th over and two of his favoured swept boundaries in the following over against off-spinner Roston Chase, Mushfiqur raced to 36, overtaking Tamim on 33. When he reached his 32nd ODI fifty by running his 62nd ball down to third man for a single off Rovman Powell in the 21st over as Bangladesh reached 112 for one, a total close to 300 seemed on the cards. Tamim reached his 43rd fifty off his 61st delivery with a tuck off the pads off Powell two overs later, but then he slog-swept leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo straight down deep midwicket’s throat to depart for a 63-ball 50 in the third ball of the 24th over.
A quiet period followed as Bangladesh added seven runs in the next 19 deliveries and the pressure led to Mushfiqur playing away from his body and edging Thomas to the keeper to depart for 62 off 80 balls. From 132 for three, Shakib and Mahmudullah Riyad added 61 runs for the fourth wicket in 13.5 overs. In the 41st over, Mahmudullah was out for 30 after being caught at cover off a leading edge against Powell.
Soumya Sarkar did not last long before being caught off Bishoo for six, which is when Liton resumed his innings, having come back from the hospital with a scan that showed no major damage. He however added just three runs before being caught off Paul in the 46th over.
Shakib got a reprieve when, on 46, he was caught off a Thomas no-ball in the 45th over. He celebrated his good fortune by hitting the free hit for a six, bringing up his 40th fifty off 54 balls. That over cost 16 runs and included two more boundaries off Shakib’s bat.
After Shakib’s dismissal, bowled by a very slow slower ball by Roach for a 62-ball 65, Bangladesh lost momentum against a slew of slower balls bowled by Roach and Thomas, with Mehedi and Mashrafe taking just 16 runs in the last three overs.