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B’desh seal historic win over WI
St George’s (Grenada), Jul 21 (AFP):
Published on 21 Jul. 2009 11:54 PM IST
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Bangladeshi stand-in captain Shakib Al Hasan led from the front with 96 not out as his side beat the West Indies in the second and final Test here and he declared the 2-0 series win was the biggest thing for the cricket side in nine years. Shakib hit the winning runs in style with a six to seal a first ever series win away from home - admittedly against a weakened and inexperienced West Indies side after the senior players boycotted the series over a pay dispute - and the first time they have won two successive Tests. Shakib scored 96 not out and Raqibul Hasan made 65 - both career bests - to set things up for the Tigers, as they successfully chased 215 for victory to win by four wickets and claim only their second ever series win. “In our nine years, this is the biggest thing that has happened to Bangladesh cricket,” said Shakib, who also hit 13 fours in 96 from 97 balls in a little over 2-1/2 hours to make him a shoe-in for the Man-of-the-Match award. “This series victory will give a boost to our confidence, and will help to take us to the next level, and with God’s help, we shall go forward. “There was not too much pressure on us, since the boys have been playing really, really well. It was a good victory.” Bangladesh were wobbling on 67 for four about half-hour before the tea break, but Shakib joined Raqibul and they put Bangladesh solidly on course for victory with a stand of 106 for the fifth wicket either side of tea. Raqibul reached his 50 from 74 balls, when he steered Dave Bernard Jr to third man for his seventh fourth. About 25 minutes later, Shakib arrived at his landmark, when he drove Kemar Roach for his seventh boundary and the first of three in succession in the fast bowler’s 11th over. But Raqibul became the fourth of five wickets for 55 runs in 16 overs for Darren Sammy, when he gave an easy return catch with Bangladesh still needing 44. He batted for a shade under three hours, faced 99 balls, and struck eight fours and one six. Diminutive wicketkeeper/batsman Mushfiqur Rahim joined Shakib and inched Bangladesh closer in the 40 minutes he spent at the crease before he too, drove back a simple return catch to Sammy to leave the Tigers 14 short of the magic number, but they had no last-minute jitters and duly crossed over the threshold. “We had a good opportunity to win the game in the second innings, but we did not bat too well,” said West Indies captain Floyd Reifer. “We always knew we needed around 280 runs to have a fighting chance to win the game and we fell way short. “It is pretty difficult to defend a victory target of 215. All they needed was one good partnership to have a good chance. But I felt Sammy bowled well, and our guys tried very hard, but it was a tough game.” About the frailty of West Indies’ batsmen against spin, he said: “In our domestic first-class competition, the spinners get the most wickets every year. This is something we will have to examine closely as players, as coaches, and try to work out the best way to play spin bowling. Before lunch, Bangladesh had made a steady start and reached 17 without loss, after they completed the demolition of the West Indies batting, following a delayed start. Shakib, who also captured the Man-of-the-Series award, finished with five wickets for 70 runs from 24.5 overs, and fellow left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr ended with three for 48 from 17 overs.

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