2019 Cricket World Cup: Windies crumble as tigerish Bangladesh hunt down huge total
Shakib made his way to 124 as he comfortably dealt with the West Indies short deliveries (photo: Getty Images)

2019 Cricket World Cup: Windies crumble as tigerish Bangladesh hunt down huge total

Bangladesh chased down the second highest run chase in World Cup history to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

Chris Lincoln

After thrashing Pakistan and running Australia close, many started to tip West Indies as potential World Cup surprise packages. A team with mountains of potential, including a destructive battling line-up and rip-roaring bowling attack, the 1975 and 1979 champions could not be underestimated.

Yet, ironically, it is that mindset that has effectively cost them a place in the final four, succumbing to a comfortable defeat by Bangladesh who had no right to chase down 321 with 51 balls to spare.

Middle order explode after slow start

Fresh from his flossing, showboating and styling antics in a heavy loss to England on Friday, Chris Gayle showcased that first sign of arrogance in the opening overs. He hung around for 13 balls, seemingly confident in his ability to smash runs later in the innings, only to be dismissed for a duck in a short stand that set the tone for the first half of the West Indies innings.

Evin Lewis steadied the ship alongside the conservative Shai Hope, who found the rope just five times in over three hours, before the latter was caught for 70 at 122-2 midway through the innings. Nicholas Pooran made a balanced 25 but even when he was dismissed in the 33rd over, the West Indies run rate was below five.

The platform did, however, allow the Windies middle order to blast the ball to all corners of the ground in the final hour. Despite Hope eventually falling for 96 from 121 deliveries, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder and Darren Bravo combined to execute seven maximums between them. The Windies scored over half of their runs in the final 17 overs, Hetmyer entertaining in particular with 50 from just 26 balls.

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Shakib and Das guide Bangladesh to victory

Whilst the batting performance was, to an extent, measured, the bowling input was nothing short of shambolic. West Indies named just five outright bowlers, all of pace variety. It appeared they were going to try and bounce Bangladesh out as they did with Pakistan.

The tactic looked like it would work again, Andre Russell tucking up Soumya Sarkar in just the ninth over after missing out with the ball. Reflective of the West Indies innings, a firm second wicket partnership settled the run chase with a series of boundaries piercing a sloppy outfield display. It took outstanding reactions from Sheldon Cottrell to run out Tamim Iqbal two runs short of his half century.

When Mushfiqur Rahim followed an over later, the writing looked to be on the wall. But Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das settled into their rhythm, comfortably dealing with the onslaught of short and full deliveries. 'Good length' was never a factor for West Indies.

Russell was forced off injured as the bowlers failed to adjust. Das smashed three successive sixes on his way to an unbeaten 94 from 69, whilst Shakib executed a beautiful 124 from 99, manufacturing 16 boundaries in the process.

Hope for Tigers

In truth, the combination of one-dimensional bowling and nerveless batting could have equated to Bangladesh chasing down 400 if they needed to. The Tigers eased to their 322 target with 51 balls to spare.

Up to fifth in the table, Bangladesh still have a chance of breaking the ominous top four. Yet they still need to play the likes of Australia and India during their final four games.

As for West Indies, they have simply capitulated in the last two games. A side with so much talent is in desperate need of a transformed mindset if they are going to rival the best teams on the planet once again.