Splendid Simmons keeps Tigers at bay

Expectations got the better of the Tigers yesterday in the first one-dayer against the West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. A defeat of 40 runs was a justifiable result as Bangladesh was erratic with the ball, slack in the field while ultimately the batsmen too flattered to deceive.
The energy and smartness of Tuesday’s Twenty20 win was missing even after Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath made a sluggish start. Instead of waiting for a breakthrough, the Tigers’ prematurely pressed for wickets and it resulted in some poor bowling to Simmons, who struck his maiden ODI century, and later against Marlon Samuels (71) and Kieron Pollard (41).
As West Indies ended on 298-4, the Tigers were always facing an uphill battle that ended with them getting 258 for 7 in 50 overs with only Shakib Al Hasan showing purpose, hammering an unbeaten 67 off 58 balls with two boundaries and a six. But by then it was already too late as the start and the uneasy middle overs had failed the chase.
Tamim Iqbal’s crash-and-bang start amounted to little as makeshift opener Naeem Islam (replacing Imrul Kayes who had to pay for staying off the field during the West Indies innings) missed more than he touched. Devender Bishoo’s first delivery, a rank long-hop, found Tamim’s edge as the left-hander fell for 22 off 38 balls.
Naeem and Imrul added 78 with the right-hander securing a half-century after two years. Danza Hyatt ran back 20 meters from mid-off to take a stunning catch to dismiss Naeem 2.5 overs into the batting Powerplay. Mohammad Ashraful gloved a pull-shot to replacement skipper Denesh Ramdin and when Imrul Kayes followed him to the pavilion moments later, the Tigers had slipped to familiar territory 130 for four.
Mushfiqur threa- tened momentarily but his top-edge off Samuels found Darren Bravo at short fine-leg and an early wrap-up was only stopped by Shakib’s resistance.
He added 55 for the fifth wicket with Alok Kapali who scratched around for 20, before the enigma of Bangladesh cricket gave Simmons an easy catch off his top-edge to a Ravi Rampaul short delivery.
If the batsmen didn’t find their feet, the bowlers and fielders had a tougher time earlier in the piece.
Rubel’s three wickets apart, none of the spinners or the other paceman, Shafiul Islam, had an impact. Instead, their unnecessary eagerness had them trapped as wickets were at a premium. The first wicket since Barath walked off hurt in the 15th over came in the 42nd when Rubel ended the big Simmons-Samuels stand.
Simmons played the perfect anchor role earlier as he didn’t let a hesitant start bother him. Having struck the game’s first boundary after 35 balls, he added 67 with Barath who then pulled up with a hamstring injury and had to walk off as the new ODI rules do not allow runners.
It was even more trouble for the Tigers as Samuels launched into the bowlers, giving Simmons much needed confidence. The duo added 150 for what was effectively the first wicket with the underachieving Simmons reaching his first ODI ton. He ended up with 122 off 124 balls with the help of two sixes and eight boundaries. Samuels struck six fours and two sixes in his 78-ball 71 before Pollard launched into the Tigers, helping the West Indies to 109 runs from the final 10 overs.
Pollard struck three splendid sixes through midwicket and long-on — in 25 balls that brought the party atmosphere of IPL to Mirpur, but it was never enjoyed by the capacity crowd who would rather have preferred another victory for the home side.
SCORES IN BRIEF
WEST INDIES: 298 for 4 (Simmons 122, Barath 21, Samuels 71, Bravo 20, Pollard 41; Rubel 3-65)
BANGLADESH: 258 for 7 (Tamim 21, Naeem 52, Imrul 42, Shakib 67 not out, Mushfiqur 21, Kapali 20; Rampaul 2-35, Russel 2-44, Samuels 2-42)
Result: West Indies won by 40 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Lendl Simmons.

-With The Daily Star input

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