Shai Hope walloped the third-fastest Twenty20 International fifty to help West Indies overpower Bangladesh by eight wickets in Sylhet. The hosts were undone by Sheldon Cottrell’s awkward short balls to be bowled out for 129 and then a bumper crowd sat in silence as Hope battered six sixes and three fours to end the contest in a hurry.
Hope reached his fifty off 16 balls, behind Yuvraj Singh (12 balls) and Colin Munro (14 balls). The innings had plenty of brutality in it – especially when he played the pull shot or the slog sweep – but it wasn’t wanting in finesse as a ramp to the third man boundary showed. Hope shared an opening stand of 51 runs in 3.2 overs with the returning Evin Lewis, and then put on 47 in 4.2 overs with Nicholas Pooran.
The visitors raced to 91 for 1, equalling the highest score in the Powerplay alongside Australia, Ireland and Netherlands, who had also got there in Sylhet, four years ago during the World Twenty20 2014.
Keemo Paul did justice to his promotion to No 4, hitting an unbeaten 28 off 14 balls with a four and three sixes, one of which carried 96 metres, as West Indies completed victory in 10.5 overs.
Bangladesh had chosen to bat first under gloomy skies, and their performance out the home crowd in a similar mood, with only three batsmen reaching double-figures. Cottrell’s career-best 4 for 28, and wickets from Paul, Oshane Thomas, Carlos Brathwaite and Fabian Allen, kept Bangladesh in check and bowled them out in 19 overs.
Shakib Al Hasan was the only batsman who showed smarts for Bangladesh. He preferred the offside when looking for his fours, having nailed Thomas for a rasping cut through point and two cover drives. Both his sixes came through mid-on but luck was also on his side. Three boundaries came off his outside edge and one off the inside edge. He made 61 off 43 balls with eight fours and two sixes.
Five batsmen got out trying to pull fast and short deliveries, all of them either top-edging for easy catches or hitting it straight to fielders. Tamim Iqbal was the first to fall in this way, mistiming a pull straight to Brathwaite at mid-on. Liton Das did exactly the same off Thomas, before Soumya Sarkar also mistimed a pull to be caught at midwicket, off Cottrell.
Bangladesh’s Powerplay was rounded off with Mushfiqur Rahim caught short of his crease as Rovman Powell threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Shakib then had two short partnerships with Mahmudullah and Ariful Haque that kept Bangladesh afloat for a time.
But Cottrell had Mahmudullah caught behind, keeping the ball close to the batsman’s body so that his attempted push resulted in an edge. Ariful later swept a catch down to deep square leg.
Shakib became Cottrell’s fourth wicket in the 18th over, again trying to pull the ball but only top-edging it to the short square leg region, where Cottrell himeslf sprinted forward and claimed the catch
Summarised scores-: West Indies 130 for 2 (Hope 55, Paul 28*) beat Bangladesh 129 (Shakib 61, Cottrell 4-28) by eight wickets (cricinfo)