SYLHET, Bangladesh, CMC – Shai Hope struck the third-fastest half-century in Twenty20 Internationals to extend an extraordinary run of form, as West Indies romped to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the opening game of the three-match series here yesterday.
Chasing a meagre 130 after left-arm speedster Sheldon Cottrell’s career-best four-wicket haul had left the hosts’ innings in ruins at 129 all out off 19 overs, the Windies sped to their target in the 11th over, with the right-handed Hope top-scoring with an explosive 55 from 23 deliveries.
Coming off unbeaten one-day centuries in his last two outings over the past week, Hope once again looked in fine touch, stroking three fours and half-dozen sixes in a scintillating innings.
The 25-year-old required just 16 balls to reach his maiden T20 half-century. Only India’s Yuvraj Singh (12 balls) and New Zealander Colin Munro (14) have gone faster. Keemo Paul, afforded a promotion in the order, slammed an unbeaten 28 from 14 balls while left-hander Nicholas Pooran finished on 23 not out off 17 deliveries.
The victory was only the Caribbean side’s second on tour, following their 2-0 whitewash in the Test series and 2-1 defeat in the one-day series.
Bangladesh had earlier struggled after choosing to bat and only captain Shakib-al-Hasan, with 61 off 43 balls, showed any enterprise.
Tamim Iqbal top-edged a pull at Man-of-the-Match Cottrell (4-28) and was taken at mid-off by captain Carlos Brathwaite for five in the second over while Liton Das fell in identical fashion to speedster Oshane Thomas for six.
Soumya Sarkar holed out to deep mid-wicket off another short ball from Cottrell for five in the fourth over and when Mushfiqur Rahim (5) was brilliantly run out at the non-striker’s end by Rovman Powell’s direct hit from mid-wicket, Bangladesh were tottering on 48 for four in the sixth over.
Shakib shepherded the innings well, a combination of straight hits and delightful off-side drives accounting for his eight fours and two sixes. He put on 25 for the fifth wicket with Mahmudullah (12) and a further 30 for the sixth wicket with Ariful Haque (17).
Once Ariful picked out Pooran at deep square off left-arm spinner Fabian Allen in the 16th over, the Bangladesh innings declined as the last five wickets fell for 26 runs off 21 deliveries.
Shakib was eighth out, skying a short ball to be caught and bowled by Cottrell running around to a shortish square leg.
Paul helped to engineer the late slide, finishing with two for 23 from four overs of medium pace.
The result was never really in doubt once Hope and Evin Lewis (18) put on a pulsating 51 off 20 balls for the opening stand.
Hope served notice of intentions from as early as the second over when he struck dangerous off-spinner Mehidy Hasan for three sixes in four balls – the first a slog-sweep over mid-wicket, the second a pull over square leg and the third another pull over the mid-wicket ropes – as the over leaked 23 runs.
Hope cleared the ropes at extra cover in the next over with left-arm seamer Abu Hider and reached his maiden T20 half-century in the sixth over when he smashed Mehidy over long on for his second six of the over which cost 18 runs.
Lewis had holed out in the deep in the fourth over off speedster Mohammad Saifuddin but Hope dominated a 47-run second wicket stand off 26 balls with Pooran before finally departing in the eighth over, caught on the ropes at extra cover off off-spinner Mahmudullah.
Hope’s demise came at no expense to the run rate as Paul lashed a four and three lovely straight sixes to see West Indies home easily.
The second match is scheduled for Thursday in Dhaka.