Bangladesh fired on all cylinders and gunned down a challenging total of 322 with seven wickets and 51 deliveries to spare against West Indies. Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das not only steadied the Bangladeshi ship but also accelerated brilliantly after it ran into troubled waters in the middle overs.
Shai Hope needs a change in approach after getting his eye in
It might cruel to judge Shai Hope since he got the tough runs against an in-form attack but one cannot afford to throw it away after such an emphatic run. Though a century is just another number, one cannot deny the kind of psychological boost one gets after achieving the milestone.
Hope weathered the early storm and scored a tenacious 96 but never really accelerated throughout the innings. If one looks at the scorecard, Hope might walk away with several accolades for playing brilliantly under pressure but numbers do not tell the whole story. With 300 becoming a norm in contemporary cricket, it is pivotal for a batsman to make up for the dot deliveries once set, which is exactly where Hope failed terribly.
Rohit Sharma is a slow-starter but makes up in no time once he is set, a quality that Hope needs to develop at the earliest. The Caribbean star also got out at a crucial juncture, which exposed the tail in the death and West Indies certainly fell short of 10-15 runs. The pitch was conducive for batting and most of his imminent peers scored at brisk strike rate but Hope. In fact, his counter-parts made the target look like a cakewalk.
Hope’s 96 off 121 deliveries at a sluggish strike rate of just over 79 was not the problem but his failure to shift gears as the innings progressed was; even against Australia, he got a tenacious 68 but that came off 105 deliveries. The problem is not his strike-rate but the timing of his dismissal, exactly when he looks to shift gears he ends up being dismissed. Hope needs to pull up on this front, which will only help him achieve fruitful results in the long run.
Shakib Al Hasan stamps his authority in ODI cricket
Is there any doubt regarding the best all-rounder in world cricket at the moment? If there is even slightest of a hesitation, Shakib has put the thoughts to rest with two back-to-back centuries in the tournament. He has shouldered the No. 3 responsibility with unmatched confidence and has scored heavy runs on a regular basis.
The World Cup has infused energy of a different kind in the southpaw and has looked like a different batsman altogether. For Shakib, it’s pivotal to bat higher up the order, he takes his batting more seriously while batting up the order and thinks more like a specialist batsman. Along with Liton Das, Shakib stitched a match-winning stand to make mockery of West Indies total. Shakib may not come across a batsman, who has all the strokes in his arsenal, but whatever he has, is effective and utilises it sensibly.
None would have thought that Bangladesh would gun down such a massive total with more than eight overs to spare, but Shakib’s brilliance couple with Liton’s belligerence made it a reality. The southpaw is the leading run-scorer in the tournament and has picked key wickets with the ball too. With the kind of form he is in, Bangladesh should certainly go a long way in the tournament provided the others step up too.
Bangladesh are the tigers, who have sharpened their claws, no team cannot afford to take them lightly and given the kind of form they are in, they’ll pose challenge of a different kind to teams like India, Pakistan and Australia. Their batting has peaked before it was too late and the bowling has been decent so far and Shakib has had a key role to play behind this, inspiring the whole attack single-handedly.
Liton passes the litmus test
After Mohammad Mithun failed to cement his spot in the line-up, Bangladesh roped in Liton Das in a must win game. The pressure was on him to perform, but he did show glimpses of form in the warm-up game and looked technically more correct than a few in the line-up. Liton has the game to succeed in ODI cricket but the team need to provide him a longer rope in order to get the best out of him.
West Indies had used their short ball tactics with perfection against Pakistan and Australia but became too predictable against Bangladesh. Liton looked unfazed by short deliveries and pulled with flair. His innings was an absolute gem and a fine example of brute force and finesse. It would be safe to say that his spot is secured for at least two games after this knock.
The boundaries were small and the pitch was heavily tilted in the favour of batsmen. Once Liton got used to the conditions he exploited West Indies’ weaknesses brutally and scored heavily to better the net run-rate. He walked in when Bangladesh were placed in a delicate situation at 133 for 3 inside 19 overs; another wicket would have put his side in all sorts of pressure and a quiet partnership was the need of the hour. Liton not only steadied the ship but kept the tempo running with a 69-ball 94.
With Shakib milking runs in the middle and Tamim back in form along with a solid Mushfiqur Rahim at four, Bangladesh batting will only sport an intimidating look with an firing Liton at five.
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