Lewis’ blitz, Paul’s five-for seal T20I series victory


SUMMARY: West Indies 190 (Lewis 89, Mahmudullah 3-18, Mustafizur 3-33) beat Bangladesh 140 (Liton 43, Paul 5-15) by 50 runs

At the end of close to three months in India and Bangladesh, West Indies finally had a trophy to take home, by winning the shortest and their most favourite format.

With the series locked 1-1, West Indies rode Evin Lewis’ blistering 36-ball 89 to post 190 when they really should’ve gotten close to 250. They raised their 100 in just the eighth over and then went into a freefall of sorts. Then they saw Bangladesh’s openers blaze away, before two dubious no-ball calls that they fiercely contested seemed to fire them up.

From there, they were a completely different side. Bangladesh, cruising at 65 for 1 in the fifth over, eventually ended up losing 7 for 31 to fold for 140 in 17 overs. Keemo Paul, the fast bowler, did bulk of the damage to walk away with career-best figures of 5 for 15. Barring Liton Das’ 43 at the top, there was hardly a score of substance, with the batsmen falling to a succession of rash strokes to complete a capitulation.

Evin Lewis shapes to hit into the leg side © Raton Gomes

This collapse came right on the back of an eight-minute passage during which play was stopped as Carlos Brathwaite protested the wrong no-ball calls that were clattered for six. Tanvit Ahmed, standing in just his second international, called two no-balls off Oshane Thomas, the second of which resulted in Liton mistiming a lofted hit to mid-off.

Upon seeing the replays in the dressing room, West Indies’ reserves signaled to the players that it was a wrong call. Brathwaite was engaged in an animated chat with match referee Jeff Crowe, with assistant coach Mushtaq Ahmed too intervening, before they eventually got on with the game.

Thomas conceded 30 off that over – he ended up bowling nine balls – that included three sixes and two fours. But the stop in play seemed to fire West Indies up. Fabian Allen had Soumya Sarkar and Shakib Al Hasan caught at long-on off successive deliveries.

Keemo Paul then removed Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Liton Das in his next three overs. By the 10th over, Bangladesh had sensationally slip, leaving Ariful Haque and Mohammad Saifuddin to take them close. But when they became were Paul’s fourth and fifth wicket respectively, the chase was as good as over.

The 33-run ninth wicket stand between Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Abu Hider delayed the inevitable but even their mad hitting couldn’t excite the crowd, who were visibly annoyed with the protest and what ensured in the aftermath.

Earlier in the evening, Lewis provided a fine start by hammering Abu Hider for 27 runs in the third over. The first three balls were consecutive sixes – 104m, 92m and 78m – to the long-off boundary. He then finished the over with a fourth six in the same region. Mehidy Hasan too wasn’t spared, as he went after him.

Hider didn’t help matters by grassing a catch off Lewis at midwicket on 48. In the next over, Lewis reached his fifty off 18 balls, making it the second fastest for a West Indian in T20Is. His sixth six was a powerful pull off Mohammad Saifuddin, in the sixth over, which landed in the second tier of the eastern gallery.

Lewis was pushing towards West Indies’ record for the fastest T20I century as he struck two more sixes – both straight down the ground – off Mehidy and Mustafizur. But Mahmudullah dashed his chance when he had him bowled in the 10th over, and immediately followed it up with Shimron Hetmyer’s wicket next ball.

Rovman Powell and Nicholas Pooran kept West Indies going for another four overs, adding 37 runs for the fifth wicket, before both fell in quick succession. Powell found Liton at deep midwicket off Mahmudullah while Pooran, who struck two fours and two sixes in his 24-ball 29, had his top-edge off Mustafizur taken at third-man.

This seemed to somewhat complete a full-blown collapse, which on the face of heavy dew may have yet proved costly if West Indies didn’t find a savior in Paul. (ESPN Cricinfo)

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