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The near perfect ODI knock

December 18th, 2018Cricket
We stay with the Windies’ December ODI series in Bangladesh for Expat Sport’s next profile which emphasises the importance of a big innings in the mission to win a one day international game. In the first match of the series West Indies did not bat well, there were few boundaries to lift the crowd and the scoreboard ticked over with little urgency, all of which resulted in the side setting a very modest target (under 200) that proved all too easy for Bangladesh to chase down.

The second contest two days later was an altogether different story demonstrating the principle that a quality in form player hitting a century plus-plus can make all the difference between winning and losing a match.

Captain’s log, star date 11th of December 2018, 2nd ODI Dhaka:

 “West Indies level the series on 256 for 6 (Hope 146*, Rubel 2-57) beat Bangladesh 255 for 7 (Shakib 65, Mushfiqur 62, Thomas 3-54) by four wickets.”

It was Shai Hope who assumed the starring role with a handsome unbeaten knock of 146 off 144 balls to help draw West Indies level in the three-match ODI series and notch up their first win of the Bangladesh tour.

Hope well supported by Keemo Paul, the latter coming to the wicket with West Indies beginning to crumble at 185 for 6 in the 39th over. The pair added 71, bringing the visitors home in the final over. This was Shai Hope's maiden century in a winning situation, a sparkling display that included 12 fours and three sixes, and culminated in a battering ram of an attack that crushed the home side in a matter of minutes.

Windies on the front foot
It did not start well as Shai Hope’s fellow opener, Chandrapaul Hemraj found himself walking back to the pavilion in the second over, out lbw for 3 within 6 balls. Mehidy Hasan Miraz took the wicket.

But Hope was definitely on his game as he and Darren Bravo then came together to share a 65-run stand pulling West Indies out of a hole. Hope showed his true intent in the first instance with a six driven off Mustafizur Rahman in the 9th over, and then straightening the shot slightly, he launched Mashrafe for his second six.

Meanwhile, Bravo smashed his first six in the same over as the duo looked set to run away with the game. However, a determined Rubel managed to break up a very promising partnership two overs later, bowling Bravo behind his legs, for 27 off 43 balls.

Marlon Samuels, no spring chicken at 37, then took up the relay baton with Mr Hope, producing a bright and supportive 26 including 3 boundaries before his final attempted shot off the bowling of Mustafizur landed in the capable hands of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim. Rubel then snuffed out the threat of the highly dangerous Hetmyer who had begun to get into his stride hitting a six in his 14 off 10 balls faced, with substitute Islam taking the catch.

Amidst all these twists and turns, a seemingly unstoppable Hope was still beavering away in the background busily knocking up a serious total, with singles coming from delicate dabs and dinks around and between field placings. He was fittingly rewarded for his diligence as he reached his third ODI hundred with a single off Mashrafe Mortaza in the 41st over. Nevertheless regardless of the display of clever shots for singles sprayed around the inner circle he was still able to find the boundary at will, generally as a result of a series of pulls, inside-out hits over cover and slog sweeps, whenever the run rate demanded a lift.

New partners at the crease, Captain Rovman Powell, out for a solitary single in 2 balls closely followed by Roston Chase gone for 9 in 18, fell far too cheaply, curiously both caught at mid-on. Nevertheless, that opened the doors on a Hope & Paul Caribbean cricket special in the final 40 minutes much to the joy of whistle blowing Windies fans and appreciative applause from neutrals in the final 40 minutes.

Hope’s concentration had not let him down as he ensured that West Indies stayed well in the hunt, before wading into the usually economical Rubel Hossain in the 48th over, hitting him for a straight six and taking 10 off the over after Bangladesh had bowled a string of relatively tight overs.

Then needing 22 runs off the last two overs, Hope began to play some exquisite shots dispatching Mustafizur Rahman for three fours, past point, long-off, and the final boundary lifted with the gentlest of touches over the wicketkeeper’s head with no long leg in sight. It was left to Paul, who remained unbeaten on 18 off 31 balls, to calmly take the winning runs with two balls to spare in the last over. Paul, undoubtedly providing a skilled support act to Shai Hope, West Indies' batting superhero.

Mac McTiernan walks through a compelling justification for the ODI match winning value of a big century, although one or two solid supporting partnerships never go amiss.