Image courtesy of: Cricket West Indies
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell hammered a game-winning 35 not out and took a wicket to lead his side to a seven-wicket win via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method over Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 International in St Kitts.
Opting to bowl first, the West Indies got off to the best possible start as Ashley Nurse had Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal stumped for a golden duck on the first ball of the match.
Nurse struck again three balls later as he clean bowled Soumya Sarkar for a golden duck.
Liton Das and captain Shakib Al Hasan managed to add 38 runs to the score before Liton was caught by Andre Fletcher at deep square leg off the bowling of Keemo Paul for 24.
Shakib, who ended up making 19, was on his way back to the pavilion the very next ball.
Despite Liton and Shakib falling on consecutive deliveries, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim steadied things with a 47-run partnership before Rahim was caught by Rovman Powell at third man off the bowling of Kesrick Williams for 15.
Ariful Haque also made 15 before being cleaned up by Russell.
Williams then proceeded to take out Mahmudullah, who made 35, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nazmul Islam in quick succession.
As a result, Bangladesh ended up finishing on 143/9 off their 20 overs.
Williams was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Paul and Nurse took two wickets apiece. As for Russell, he chipped in with one.
Since the rain started falling during the innings break and delayed proceedings by just over an hour, the West Indies were given a revised target of 91 to win off 11 overs.
The hosts didn’t get off to the best of starts though as opener Evin Lewis was caught by Liton as backward point off the bowling of Mustafizur Rahman for two runs on the eighth ball of the innings.
Fletcher was dismissed four balls later as he was caught behind for seven runs.
Russell and Marlon Samuels stabilised the innings with a 42-run stand before Samuels was dismissed by Rubel Hossain for a 13-ball 26.
Russell and Powell finished things off with an unbeaten 41-run partnership as the West Indies won the match with 11 balls to spare.
Russell concluded the match on 35 off 21 balls, which included three boundaries and three sixes, while Powell remained undefeated on 15 off nine deliveries, which included two sixes.
Mustafizur was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Rubel claimed one.
Shakib was gutted to have lost, and said: “I think we lost early wickets and wickets at crucial times. Mushfiq and (Mahmudullah) Riyad had a good partnership, and then Mushfiq lost his wicket. We lost five wickets in a ten-over period, and in a T20 game it gets difficult for any team to lose five wickets that early and come back.
“They’ve got some quality T20 batsmen and you have to be at your best to challenge them. We have two more games, at a different venue, and we have a lot more positives to take from today than negatives.”
West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite was thrilled to have won, and said: “We spoke about it (opening with Nurse). Thankfully it worked and he did a job for his team, giving us a start. It’s important for everyone to express themselves. Play your shots and be free. Obviously it’s important to remain calculated.
“If you’ve made a mistake, we can have a chat and improve. But it’s about doing it your way. Sometimes it’s just about being satisfied than improving, and what was especially delightful was the fielding. So probably no change or improvement, but just replicating that fielding performance and that energy.”
Russell was named Man of the Match, and said: “We lost the ODI series, but we wanted to put some pride into this game and come back and win… overall a good win. It’s been a while since I played a nightwatchman role (laughs). It’s more responsibility and that’s good.
“I’ve always wanted to open the innings in T20. It’s now a challenge to face the new ball. A bit worried about fitness, still not a 100 percent, but I’m good enough to play. Probably 95 percent there.
“Bangladesh are good, we’re not going to underestimate them. We just want to take it game by game and finish the series off in Florida.”