Last week Guyana celebrated its 50th anniversary of Independence. In the post-colonial narrative of the Caribbean, Guyana has always been an enigma.
Five days ago, they were on opposite sides of a stormy Caribbean Premier League T20 final but yesterday Keiron Pollard and Denesh Ramdin put that aside and fought together to give the West Indies a remarkable comeback three-wicket win, in the first match of the Dhaka Bank Cup at Queen’s Park in Grenada.
After skipper Dwayne Bravo skulled four batsmen to reduce Bangladesh to 217 for nine off their 50 overs, his side slipped to 34 for five, before the Guyana Amazon Warriors skipper forged a wonderful union with the Barbados Tridents skipper, to leave Grenadian fans dancing in celebration.
Pollard 89 and Ramdin 74 wiped off a century made by Bangladesh opener Anamul Haque earlier, to give their side the lead in the three-match series.
With the CPL still to decide on a complaint by the Amazon Warriors about the result of the finals, which went in favour of the Tridents, the two decided to leave that to the officials, as they batted beautifully in tandem.
When they joined forces the West Indies were in dire straits at 34 for five. They took their time to adjust to the pitch condition initially and grew in confidence as their innings went on. Ramdin, who has been batting very well for the last year, kept the runs flowing while Pollard found his range. Both men reached half centuries in the process of bringing up the 100-run partnership off hundred balls. Pollard reached the landmark first off 39 balls with three fours and four sixes and Ramdin arrived later having used 62 balls, hitting four fours and a six.
When Ramdin finally fell for a brilliant 74 off 76 balls with six fours and a six, the game was in hand. His association with Pollard was worth 145 off 21.5 overs and they just failed to clip the overall record off 154 held by Jeff Dujon and Richie Richardson against Pakistan in Sharjah in 1991. Ironically both men were at the ground, Richardson being the manager of the West Indies team and Dujon a television commentator.
With victory nearing, Pollard swung hard in an effort to get to a century but fell to a wonderful running catch by Mahmudullah off Al-Amin Hosein for 89. He faced just 70 balls and struck five fours and six sixes.
Earlier, Bravo won the toss and asked the visitors to take first strike on the pitch with some early moisture. The game started in bizzare circumstances as the playing arena had more people than the stands. The pitch with burdened with the moisture was slow and Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul, although keeping it tight, was not deadly.
The normally explosive Tamim Iqbal and Haque made slow but sure progress and at the end of the ten-over power play, they had realised 34 runs. They added a further seven before Iqbal became the first Bangladeshi casualty on tour, having Iqbal caught off Jason Holder for 19.
Imrul Kayes, who batted well on Bangladesh’s last tour of the Caribbean, was then run out, as the West Indies kept the scoring in check. Kayes slogged the ball to deep midwicket and took an easy single and decided to press for another. The batsmen then collided in the middle of the pitch and Kayes although regaining his composure, was still found short when Ramdin disturbed the stumps.
Shamsur Rahman (8), main man Mushfiqur Rahim (12) and Mahmudullah (11) kept Haque company for short periods and the short partnerships could not have put the local on the back foot. Bravo continued to switch his bowlers around, in an effort to unsettle the batsmen and it worked. He himself grabbed two wickets and would later return to collect another two to finish with 4/32 and push his tally to 16 this year in ODI cricket.
One man who stood as a rock was Haque. He brought up his half century off 74 balls and had four hits to the advertising boards.
He found an able partner in Nassir Hosein and they started to re-construct the innings from the perils off 141 for five.
The duo were able to lift the run rate over the period they were together and when Hossain fell to Rampaul for 26 - they had added 53 runs from 13.1 overs.
Throughout the innings, Haque showed great composure in the midst off all that was happening at the other end. He played well within his limitations, keeping it simple. No one was really able to take the attack apart and when the 200-run mark flashed on the screens, it had come off 289 balls - such was the dominance by the West Indies bowlers.
Haque brought up his third ODI century off 133 balls with nine fours and a top-edged six.
WI vs Bangladesh
A Haque lbw Bravo 109
T Iqbal c Pollard b Holder 26
I Kayes run out 9
S Rahman c Ramdin b DJ Bravo 8
M Rahim c Narine b Gayle 12
Mahmudullah b DJ Bravo 11
N Hossain c Rampaul b Ramdin 26
S Gazi run out 2
M Mortaza c Pollard b Bravo 3
T Ahmed not out 0
Extras lb2, w8, nb1 11
Total 9 wkts (50ovs) 217
FOW: 41, 68, 80, 117, 141, 194, 201,
Bowling: K Roach 10-0-48-0 (1w), R Rampaul 10-4-48-1 (3w), J Holder 9-0-39-1 (1w), DJ Bravo 7-0-32-4 (inb, 3w), S Narine 10-1-29-0, C Gayle 4-0-19-1.
West Indies inns
C Gayle c Al Amin Hossain b Mortaza 3
K Edwards b Mahmudullah 10
DM Bravo c Rahim b Amin 7
L Simmons c Rahim b Amin 0
D Ramdin b Gazi 74
D Bravo c Gazi b Amin 5
K Pollard c Mahmudullah b Amin 89
J Holder not out 22
S Narine not out 3
Extras lb1, w5 6
Total 7 wkts (39.4ovs) 219
FOW: 9, 20, 20, 22, 34, 179, 201.
Bowling: S Gazi 9-1-46-1, M Mortaza 8-2-22-1, Mahmudullah 4-0-20-1, Al-Amin Hossain 8.4-0-51-4, Taskin Ahmed 7-0-46-0, Nasir Hossain 2-0-20-0, Shamsur Rahman 1-0-13-0.
Result: West Indies won by 3 wkts.
Man-of-match: Keiron Pollard
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