Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo held their nerves during the closing overs of a nail-biting thriller, to help West Indies register a 3-run win over Bangladesh in Sharjah on Friday. Stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran lauded Russell for his exploits, after the team’s first win at the T20 World Cup 2021.
Andre Russell, who has bowled little in recent times due to recurring injury woes, delivered four economical overs including a crucial final one to help West Indies to a three-run win. Russell held his nerve against Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah and conceded just four doubles and a bye when the opponents needed 13 off 6.
It was the first win for the two-time champions at the T20 World Cup 2021, which keeps their hopes alive in the race to the semifinals. Nicholas Pooran, who led the side during the chase in Kieron Pollard’s absence, looked back at a much-needed win.
“It's tough managing all the players, but everyone gives me full support,” said Pooran after the win. “All hands on the deck on the field. Unfortunately we didn't really take all our catches, but the belief was there. We backed our experience to close out the game.
“We had faith in our experienced bowlers. Akeal had been bowling really well and did today again. On that wicket, back of a length was tough. (Russell last over) He's a big player and executed for us.”
Earlier, it was Pooran who propelled the West Indies to 142/7, after they stood at 64/4 after the 13th over. The left-hander struck four sixes and a four during his 22-ball 40, which fetched him the Player of the Match award.
There was an unusual occurrence too, as Pollard walked off the field, retiring himself out after a 16-ball struggle, and returned to strike a six off the last ball. Pooran revealed that the regular skipper was fine health wise, and reflected on his own innings.
“Pollard looks fine health wise, the medical team is still working with him but he should be okay. You can see why he's a wonderful leader, walking back in to hit that last-ball six. We try to be like that in the future,” Pooran said.
“Tactical move (to go lower down the order). We talk about batsmen taking responsibility and doing what's needed for the team. The batting hasn't clicked yet and we needed to put our hands up. I felt as a cricketer and a batsman I needed to put my hand up. We were missing Polly too. I have been working very very hard for the last couple of months, things just haven't gone my way. I hadn't been doing myself justice, giving away my wicket. I'm always confident and positive about my attitude and skills.”