|| CF Correspondent ||
Bangladesh top-order once propped up their game in ruthless fashion and in doing so led the side to the final of the tri-nation series after securing a five-wicket win over West Indies at Malahide in Dublin on Monday.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman paved the way of the effortless victory, sharing seven wickets between them as West Indies were restricted to a below par 247-9.
To complement the bowlers’ performance, the top order made a short work of it with Mushfiqur Rahim to the fore as Bangladesh reached victory mark with 248-5 in 47.2 overs.
Mushfiqur Rahim struck a superb 63 to lead the side, while Soumya Sarkar kept up his form, hitting a fluent 54.
Amid a near-perfect performance, the only spot of bother was Abu Jayed Rahi. The paceman who made his ODI debut, replacing injured Saifuddin finished with 9-0-56-0.
Mustafizur shrugged off his wayward bowling, also against West Indies in the first match in which he leaked runs in abundance, claiming 4-43 while Mashrafe finished with 3-63, including two valuable wickets of Shai Hope and Jason Holder.
Opener Shai Hope continued his rich vein of form against Bangladesh, hitting 87 off 108 with six fours and one six while captain Jason Holder contributed 62 off 76 with three fours and one six.
Mashrafe removed both the batsmen across two overs in the space of just eight runs to spark later order collapse before he got rid of dangerous Sunil Ambris.
Fresh from his match-winning 148 against Ireland, Ambris looked ominous when he cut Bangladeshi bowlers in surgical manner after Jason Holder won the toss and opted to bat first.
Mashrafe took out Ambris after he scored 19 ball-23 and then Mustafizur Rahman dismissed Roston Chase (19) and Jonathon Carter (3) to leave West Indies struggling at 99-4.
Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz joined the party to stifle West Indies further. Though both them scalped just one wicket, they were so economical and disciplined that West Indies at one phase went without any boundary for 103 balls.
But when Hope and Holder hinted to break the shackle with the help of flurry of boundaries, Mashrafe showed his magic to remove both of them.
Mustafizur then cleaned up the tail as West Indies lost last five wickets for 48 runs to be held back to a total which Bangladesh were expected to overhaul with ease.
And it was indeed a comprehensive victory, regardless of the margin.
Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar once again set the platform upfront, sharing 54 runs, which was broken with the dismissal of Tamim Iqbal for 21 runs.
Shakib joined Soumya to keep the side in on track before off-spinner Ashley Nurse jolted Bangladesh, dismissing both in the space of two balls. Shakib made 29.
With Bangladesh struggling at 107-3, there was a glimmer of hope for the Caribbean side. But it was quickly evaporated as Mushfiqur Rahim entered into the crease.
Frustrating the West Indian bowlers, he and Mithun shared 83-run for the fourth wicket to take the side on the verge of the victory. Captain Holder broke the partnership, taking out Mithun who struck 43 off 53 with two fours and as many sixes.
Mushfiqur remained unfazed and serenely drove the side to the victory. But he couldn’t sign it off with his own after he went for an expensive lap-scoop off Kemar Roach. That ended his 73 ball-63 runs knock, studded by five sweetly-timed fours and one six.
Bangladesh were just eight runs away to the victory by the time when Mushfiqur was dismissed. Mahmudullah Riyad, unbeaten on 30, made the job done to take the side to the final with a match to spare. Nurse was the leading wicket-taker for West Indies with 3-53.
The Tigers will take on hosts Ireland on May 15, a match turned out to be inconsequential now.
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