T20 World Cup: West Indies title defence stays alive
Andre Russell bowled an immaculate final over to help the West Indies pip Bangladesh by three runs in a low-scoring thriller for their first Super 12 win on Friday that kept their Twenty20 World Cup title defence alive.
Both sides came into the contest with two defeats from as many matches and Bangladesh needed 13 in Russell’s final over to chase down West Indies’ 142/7 — built on Man of the Match Nicholas Pooran’s 40 off 22 balls — on a low and slow wicket at Sharjah.
Russell did not find much support from his fielders, who were guilty of dropped catches and poor ground fielding even in the last over, but still gave away nine runs and restricted Bangladesh to 139/5.
With Bangladesh needing four off the final delivery, Russell showed nerves of steel to find the perfect yorker and seal the fate of the contest.
The defeat has all but ended the South Asian side’s hopes of advancing to the semis.
Liton Das, who top-scored for Bangladesh with 44, stitched together a 40-run stand with captain Mahmudullah but his departure to a smart catch by Jason Holder on the boundary rope in the penultimate over hurt Bangladesh’s chances.
Mahmudullah remained unbeaten on 31 off 24.
“This win means a lot to the team,” Holder told reporters. “We’re obviously in a do or die situation, having to win the last remaining games. So it’s good to start this one off. It was a close encounter. Nevertheless, we got over the line.”
West Indies earlier promoted Chris Gayle to open the innings after dropping Lendl Simmons but their batting woes continued as the side was reduced to 32 for three after being put in to bat.
Captain Kieron Pollard also failed to get going and walked off retired hurt and on the next ball, Russell was run out without facing a delivery.
The arrival of Pooran to the crease provided the spark that the West Indies innings required and the left-handed batter smashed spinners Shakib-al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan for two sixes each in his knock.
The 26-year-old provided the late flourish during a stand of 57 with Roston Chase, who made his T20I debut for the West Indies.
Pooran and Chase, who made 39, were out on consecutive balls to seamer Shoriful Islam but some big hitting from Holder continued West Indies’ late assault.
Holder, who came into the squad late as an injury replacement, hit 15 off five as West Indies added 72 in the last six overs. Pollard returned to bat and hit a six on the last delivery of the innings.
“I felt like 140 was a very good total. I think with our bowling attack we could defend that, and it proved to be enough,” Holder added.