Marlon Samuels rediscovered his form in style with an explosive unbeaten hundred to put the BCB XI bowlers to the sword as West Indies posted a 75-run victory in the T20 warm-up match at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday. The right-hander, along with Andre Russell took full advantage of the home side’s poor bowling attack to keep the momentum going before the series proper after the visitors decided to bat first in their last practice game. Darren Sammy’s men also won the first 45-over-a-side warm-up game quite convincingly at the same venue.
Riding on Samuels’s 56-ball 102 and Russell’s 35-bal 58, West Indies piled up 195 for three in 20 overs. In reply, the BCB XI batsmen were did not come close to challenging the big total, managing only 120 for six in 20 overs.
Samuels, who clobbered fourteen boundaries and three sixes, provided true entertainment for the local crowd who braved the early chaos to enter the ground after the match started nearly one and a half hours later than the schedule time due to inclement weather.
The crowd grew restive when authorities barred them from entering the ground as they were undecided about the start of the match following bad weather, but everything fell into place once the match got underway.
It was a good start for the home team when Farhad Reza removed Adrian Barath off the first ball of the third over with the scoreboard reading seven runs but the smiles didn’t last long for them, as Samuels toyed with the local bowlers to make sure his side starts the series on a high note.
Everybody was surprised by the strength, or lack thereof, of the BCB XI bowling attack but captain Shahriar Nafees was not ready to comment on the issue after the end of the match. Instead, he believed that the West Indian batsmen will struggle against the full strength Bangladesh bowling attack.
“I am not in a position to say whether they (bowlers) are part-time bowlers because it’s the jurisdiction of the selectors. This team was fielded to improve their basic strength. They (West Indies) batted well but still I believe they will struggle against our bowling,” said Nafees, who scored the team highest 29 off 34 balls.
Whatever the sub-plots were the day belonged to Samuels, who also took two wickets and got back his rhythm at the right time, which is why the batsman expressed his satisfaction over his fiery knock.
“I have been off for a while but I am back now and moving forward. It’s always nice to have practice and play a few matches before the series starts. I think it is very important to continue the winning streak,” said Samuels when asked whether he had regained his old form after playing this knock.
The Jamaican had started his career with a lot of promise but has been struggling to perform consistently. He said that he is trying to leave his past behind to make a fresh start.
“There were ups and downs but now I am trying to put them behind and move forward knowing that I have been given the opportunity to play consistently for the team which I always wanted,” he explained, adding, “I have a very good coach who used to tell me that once you have a good technique you don’t need to worry about the form of cricket as it will pull you through. Test cricket will never die; Test cricket is here to stay. A batsman who can bat well in Test cricket won’t be having a problem batting in any format of the game.”
When asked whether they expected more competition in the match, Samuels said: “There is competition when you are playing against any team and that’s why we come out here and play hard cricket because we want to continue with the winning streak and we are taking nobody for granted.”
He admitted that the dashing Chris Gayle, who is now out of the team following a row with the West Indies Cricket Board, is an inspiration for him.
“He (Gayle) has always been my friend and he still is. He is a pretty good T20
Player, so most definitely you will have to have your eyes on him,” said Samuels.
WEST INDIES: 195-3 in 20 overs (Summons 12, Samuels 102 not out, Russell 58, extras 12; Reza 2-37).
BCB XI: 120-6 in 20 overs (Junaed 10, Nafees 29, Rokibul 22, Hom 11, Mominul 17 not out, Nadif 11, Mithun 11 not out, extras 8; Sammy 2-23, Samuels 2-18).
RESULT: West Indies won by 75 runs.
-With The Daily Star input