An excellent final over from Andre Russell helped West Indies sneak through by three runs in a humdinger against Bangladesh in Sharjah on Friday night. Needing 13 to win off the last over, Bangladesh had a new batter in Afif Hossain at the crease with settled batter Liton Das dismissed off the last ball of the penultimate over.
Russell nailed his yorkers in the final over as Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah and Afif failed to find the boundary. Bangladesh appeared to be in cruise mode in the run chase at one point after a steady, yet slow start, but lost the way late in the innings after Dwayne Bravo's excellent three-run over restricted Bangladesh.
Bangladesh opted to open the innings with Shakib Al Hasan after the current opening pair had failed to get them off to good starts in the powerplay. The move didn't quite pay off as Shakib was dismissed in the fifth over with the total just over 20. Naim fell next over as West Indies tightened the noose, but Liton held them together with partnerships alongside Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah. None of the three could really kick on, though, and Liton himself found boundaries tough to come by. He seemed to be on his way to taking Bangladesh to a win until his wicket in the penultimate over pegged them back.
West Indies came into this fixture on the back of two losses in the tournament and five back-to-back losses if you consider the two warm-up matches that they lost. With their hopes in the tournament on the line, skipper Kieron Pollard sought to make two changes, bringing in Roston Chase to lend the team some balance in the form of an anchor.
Chase lived up to the expectations, walking in at No.3 and donning the anchor role after Evin Lewis was dismissed early. Opening with Lewis was Chris Gayle with Lendl Simmons sitting out, but Gayle, in a return to his role at the top of the order, failed to make a mark. Soon, Shimron Hetmyer has also slogged out and Windies were 32/3, on the verge of yet another collapse.
Debutant Chase and Kieron Pollard held the innings together for a bit before bizarrely Pollard walked off when on 8 off 16, raising speculation that he had tactically retired out due to his slow scoring rate. That, however, turned out to be some kind of injury for he returned later in the innings.
The immediate aftermath of Pollard walking off was terrible for West Indies. Yet to face a ball, Andre Russell was run out at the non-striker's end off a deflection from the bowler's fingers and West Indies were effectively 62/5.
That, however, turned the momentum for Windies as Nicholas Pooran walked out to offer a breath of fresh air to the innings with his carefree striking. With Chase holding one end up, Pooran went on the rampage, taking on the Bangladesh spinners and turning what appeared to be an ordinary total to a par one.
Pooran's innings was followed by another spectacular cameo from Jason Holder and the West Indies out of nowhere had 142 on board, stealing 58 runs in the last five overs. It turned out to be a game-changer as Bangladesh found scoring tough in the latter overs with the ball gripping on the surface.
West Indies 142/7 in 20 overs (Pooran 40, Chase 39, Shoriful 2/20) beat Bangladesh 139/5 (Liton 44, Mahmudullah 31*, Holder 1/22)