Bangladesh were hardly tested upon their return to international cricket after more than 10 months as Tamim Iqbal's side registered a comfortable six-wicket win against an inexperienced West Indies side in the first of three ODIs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
There was double delight for Bangladesh fans as the match also marked the return to international cricket of Shakib Al Hasan following a one-year ICC-imposed ban, and Bangladesh's most consistent performer, as has come to be expected, played the key role in the comfortable win.
The champion cricketer notched the best figures by a Bangladeshi bowler in ODIs against the West Indies, ending with four for eight from 7.2 overs to help bundle out the visitors for 122 runs in 32.2 overs.
For the West Indies, the bulk of the scoring was done by debutant Kyle Mayers, who struck 40, and Rovman Powell, who hit 28. None of the other batters were able to absorb the pressure exerted by the Bangladeshi bowlers.
After the hosts won the toss and chose to field, there was a 20-minute rain interruption in the fourth over. The sun did not shine the whole day, making conditions difficult for batting.
Apart from Shakib, young debutant right-arm seamer Hasan Mahmud was impressive, picking up three wickets while Mustafizur Rahman bagged two to rattle through the Windies batting lineup.
It was however not as smooth a chase for Bangladesh as they would have hoped. The home side lost four wickets before the experienced duo of Mushfiqur Rahim (19) and Mahmudullah Riyad (9) remained unbeaten to guide the side to the victory in 33.5 overs.
West Indies' debutant left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein removed Liton Das (14) and Nazmul Hossain (1), while skipper Tamim looked solid before he was stumped for 44 off 69 balls off the bowling of his Caribbean counterpart Jason Mohammed.
Hosein went on to scalp his third wicket, that of Shakib for 19, to end up with the his team's best bowling figures of three for 26 from 10 overs -- the best bowling figures by a West Indies left-arm bowler on debut.
There was a short opening ceremony to mark the 50th year of Bangladesh's independence and both teams lined up together to pay their respects, which was followed by a speech from Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan. Both sides then showed solidarity with the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, with every player kneeling with one clenched fist raised.
Back to the match, the lack of experience in the West Indies side -- who fielded six debutants – meant that they had little wherewithal to stage a fightback after suffering early setbacks.
It was left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman who started brilliantly with the new ball and gave the early breakthrough for Bangladesh. The Fizz picked up his first wicket with a beautiful in-swinging delivery to trap Sunil Ambris leg-before on nine. He then dismissed the other opening batsman, debutant Joshua Da Silva, who was caught brilliantly at gully by Liton Das.
Shakib then joined the party, picking up Andre McCarthy and registering the record of taking 150 ODI wickets at home. The left-arm spinner kept hurting the West Indies batting line-up and went on to pick three more wickets at a miserly economy rate with his beguiling mixture of spin and arm balls.
Young pacer Mahmud, after a wicket-less first spell, came back strong in his second spell and removed Powell with a beautiful length delivery to get the outside edge through to the keeper.
Mahmud then followed it up with another wicket in the very next ball to dismiss Raymon Reifer and was on a hat-trick. He went on to take his third wicket, that of Akeal Hosein and ended up with figures of three for 28 from his six overs.