BASSETERRE, St St Kitts, CMC – Captain Carlos Brathwaite has hailed the West Indies fielding effort in the opening Twenty20 International against Bangladesh, contending it set the tone for the eventual seven-wicket victory under lights at Warner Park here Wednesday.
Opting to bowl first, West Indies restricted the tourists to 143 for nine off their allotted 20 overs and when their target was revised to 91 from 11 overs following rain during the interval, easily chased down the runs to win with 11 balls to spare.
“Sometimes you just have to take a win and be satisfied. I think what was especially pleasing was the fielding effort,” Brathwaite pointed out.
“Obviously on a wet outfield that could have been considered dangerous … the way the guys threw themselves around in the field, Bangladesh [were] going very well and we saved about 10-15 runs on the boundaries throwing our bodies around.
“So [there’s] probably not [anything to] change or improve but just replicate that fielding performance, that energy. Along with the wickets being taken it really set the tone for a good fielding performance.”
Captain Carlos Brathwaite (left) celebrates the first of Ashley Nurse’s two wickets with the bowler during the first Twenty20 International against Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)
Bangladesh were never given the opportunity to get going, with the Windies bowlers striking at key points at the innings to limit the visitors’ progress.
Veteran Mahmudullah top-scored with 35 and Liton Das got 24 but no other batsman passed 20 as seamer Kesrick Williams (4-28), along with off-spinner Ashley Nurse (2-6) and pacer Keemo Paul (2-24) kept scoring at a minimum.
“It was pretty even stevens. We got some early wickets which really put us just ahead but we continued to field well and keep the intensity up and the bowlers hit the mark every time they were called upon. I think it was a very professional performance with the ball,” Brathwaite explained.
“Credit must go to Bangladesh for being in the position they were in but sticking it all the way out and batting all 20 overs, even getting close to a respectable total after being 40-odd for four. But our guys stuck to our guns, stuck to our plans, we were very disciplined and we executed the plans we wanted very, very well.”
West Indies found themselves in early trouble in their run chase when openers Evin Lewis (2) and Andre Fletcher (7) perished in the second over with the score on 10 for two. However, Man-of-the-Match Andre Russell showcased his explosive hitting skills, counting three fours and three sixes in a 21-ball unbeaten 35 to revive the innings and take the Windies over the line.
“As soon as we knew the target, we knew what we had to do so it was just a matter of going out there and doing it and again, it was another professional performance with the bat,” Brathwaite said.
“Russell being promoted to number three and having an exceptional performance, finishing the game. We are not given a lot of credit enough times for the way we play our cricket and the professionalism we show.
“It was a very professional performance from the guys. I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s just for us to replicate it come the games in Florida.”
The final games of the three-match series will be doubleheader at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in Fort Lauderdale at the weekend.