Dec 102012

The left-handed Tamim Iqbal’s bid to upstage the right-handed Marlon Samuels ultimately amounted to diddlysquat on Monday, when the West Indies beat Bangladesh by 18 runs in their one-off Twenty20 International in Dhaka.

Samuels’ unbeaten 85 was at the fore of the Windies’ impressive total of 197 for four, after which Iqbal’s 88 not out propelled the Tigers to an insufficient 179 for one.

Beaten three-two in the preceding ODI series, the World Twenty20 champions ended the tour with relative success, though must consider why they were again pushed so close by their hosts.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, will rue what could have been had skipper Mushfiqur Rahim held onto at least one of two catches offered by Samuels before he had reached 30.

Visiting captain Darren Sammy’s decision to bat first in relatively flat Mirpur conditions was a reasonably straightforward decision, with the opposition quick to field three debutants in batsmen Anamul Haque and Mominul Haque and spinner Sohag Gazi.

With openers Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith out early, the let-handed Darren Bravo and Samuels were quick to right the wrongs of their predecessors, adding a stand of 66 inside seven overs.

The alliance would have read considerably shorter were it not for wicketkeeper Rahim’s errors, which saw the eventual half-centurion dropped on 10 and 23, with all-rounder Ziaur Rahman the unfortunate bowler on both occasions.

The swashbuckling Samuels cashed in on his lifelines to the full extent, screaming to the highest score of his T20I career. His 43-ball stay featured all of nine sixes and a solitary boundary, with seamer Rubel Hossain copping a whopping 29 runs off the final over of the innings thanks to Man of the Match Samuels’ savagery.

The Tigers’ reply brought just one wicket, that of Anamul for a brisk 22. Iqbal and vice-captain Mohammad Mahmudullah (64 not out) picked up where the debutant left off, only to be strangled at the death of the innings.

Combining for a record, unbroken 132-run partnership, the duo secured six sixes and 13 fours between them, carting the Windies XI to all corners. The asking rate ballooned regardless, and grew even higher after the opposition attack managed to string together 15 deliveries without conceding a boundary. Gayle, correcting his lack of positive impact with the bat, was fruitful in sending down four tight overs of spin.

Consoled only by the highest scores of their careers, Tamim and Mahmudullah will rue not striving for the fence quicker and earlier. The West Indians, meanwhile, endured a relatively close call that almost caught them resting on the laurels brought by triumph at the WT20.

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