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Samuels the star as West Indies win high scoring T20 contest

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marlon_samuels_batThe World T20 Champions, West Indies, ended their tour of Bangladesh on a high, winning the sole T20 International by 18 runs in what was a highly entertaining run fest. Batting first, the Windies posted an imposing 197-4 in their 20 overs with Marlon Samuels going berserk late in the innings, smashing his way to an unbeaten 85 from just 43 balls. Bangladesh were competitive for most of their chase, but inexplicably delayed their final onslaught to end with 179 for the loss of just 1 wicket. Both Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah made unbeaten half-centuries, but should have really gone after the Windies bowling sooner, thereby costing their side a possible win.

The final match of West Indies tour to Bangladesh kicked off at the Shere Bangla National stadium in Mirpur today. The West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first. Veerasammy Permaul and Kieran Powell were rotated out of the Windies line-up with Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith being called up in their stead. The Bangladesh side has Rubel Hossain and Ziaur Rahman coming in for Jahurul Islam and Elias Sunny, and also had three debutants for this format in Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque and Sohag Gazi.

Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle opened for the West Indies. While Smith seemed to be in his elements, Gayle was visibly struggling against the bowlers. After finally managing to hammer a delivery from Rubel Hossain for four, he was bowled the very next ball, falling for 6. Smith departed a couple of overs later too for 24, courtesy Rubel Hossain.

After losing two quick wickets, the West Indies came back rather well. Darren Bravo unleashed a flurry of boundaries on the helpless bowlers, assisted at the other end by a then passive Marlon Samuels. After scoring 41 runs off 28 balls, with five 4s and two 6s Bravo was stumped as he tried dancing down the wicket to knock a delivery from Sohag Gazi for 6. Samuels, however, seemed to have luck on his side as he was dropped twice, both times on deliveries bowled by the excellent Ziaur Rahman.

Kieron Pollard scored a cameo 15 from 9 balls, but fell near the end of the 15th over, bowled by Rahman. In the latter half of the innings, Bangladesh would have rued their two missed chances as Samuels picked up the pace considerably. In partnership with Lendl Simmons, he quickly notched up a neat half century.

The West Indian innings gained momentum toward the end, culminating in a 29 run final over bowled by an unfortunate Rubel Hossain. The final score posted by them was a mammoth 197/4, with Marlon Samuels the star of the show, scoring an unbeaten 85 (43 balls) which consisted of three 4s and as many as nine 6s. Ziaur Rahman was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowlers, giving away a mere 16 runs in his 4 overs.

Bangladesh started well, with openers Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque attacking the bowlers right from the very first ball. After the first four power packed overs, Haque was dismissed for 22 runs off 12 balls by Kemar Roach. The powerful play conceded 58 runs, leaving the hosts were much on track in their chase.

Bangladesh though toned their attack down when the field spread, but kept the singles coming along with an occasional boundary. Iqbal slowly began picking the pace up towards the middle of the innings, but the West Indian bowlers kept him in check. While Darren Sammy and Andre Russel were mercilessly thrashed about, Chris Gayle proved to be the most economical of the bowlers. The Bangladesh hundred came up in the 12th over, and the asking rate had climbed over 12 an over.

Both Bangladeshi batsmen seemed to be rather calm as the required run rate rose rapidly. There was a distinct lack of any big shots from them, even though they were only a wicket down. Kemar Roach was very effective in the last few overs as he choked the supply of runs to Bangladesh to just a few singles. With twelve balls to go, Tamim Iqbal began a rather late resistance, hitting fours off the first two balls of the penultimate over, before relinquishing the strike to his partner with a single. The match was effectively over though as the teams went into the final over, with Bangladesh needing 37 to win. Mahmudullah brought his 50 up with a boundary, but it was too little too late. Bangladesh posted a final total of 179/1 at the end of 20 overs with Iqbal scoring an unbeaten 88 and Mahmudullah, unbeaten on 64.

Marlon Samuels was awarded the man of the match award for his contributions with the bat.

The West Indies will leave the subcontinent happy with their exploits, having swept the test series and despite falling just short in the 5-match ODI series that followed, they did well to rally back from 2-0 down to force a deciding fifth rubber. Both teams will take a break for the New Year, though some members of this West Indies side will head to Australia to play in the Big Bash.

Teams:

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Mahmudullah, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Ziaur Rahman.

West Indies: Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle,  Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Devon Thomas, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach

Mini Scorecard:

West Indies 197/4 (20 overs, 9.85 rpo)
Marlon Samuels 85* (43) Rubel Hossain 2-63
Darren Bravo 41 (28) Ziaur Rahman 1-16

Bangladesh 179/1 (20 overs, 8.95 rpo)
Tamim Iqbal 88* (61) Kemar Roach 1-36
Mahmudullah 64 (48)

West Indies win by 18 runs

File Photograph Copyright: WICB Media