World T20 debutant does well to restrict Group B leaders to 115, but inexperience proves its undoing as it falls short by 36 runs
With this, its second win, West Indies Women is perched at the top of the Group B standings.
West Indies, which opted to bat, was bowled out for 115 off the last over to give the local fans plenty of hope. Yet, even as the wickets tumbled, there was a lingering feeling that the home team conceded 20 runs too many. Those fears were proved right as Bangladesh's inexperience, its biggest enemy, proved to be the difference between the two sides.
While Bangladesh's bowling unit kept things simple, relying on the age-old ploy of wicket-to-wicket bowling to maintain a stranglehold, the batters tangled themselves in knots as they were bowled out for 79 in 17.3 overs, with Anisa Mohammed and Shaquana Quintyne, the spin twins, picking up three wickets apiece.
That shouldn't take away the good work done by the Bangladesh bowlers. Stafanie Taylor's absence due to an injury meant the Knight sisters – Kycia and Kyshona – were entrusted with the opening duties. However, two balls were all it took to separate the stand as Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun trapped her leg before wicket. The pressure showed straightaway as West Indies played out as many as 16 dot balls in the first three overs.
Quintyne, promoted to No.3 as a pinch-hitter, broke the shackles as West Indies had its first boundary in the fourth over. But apart from the sporadic sheets of runs, runs were hard to come by. Salma's first spell read 3-1-6-1.
While Salma built the pressure, Fahima Khatun, the leg-spinner, reaped the rewards by picking up two wickets in two overs. Quintyne was deceived in flight to be bowled, while Kyshona was trapped lbw after missing a delivery that spun back in sharply to trap her in front of middle and leg.
At 41 for 3 in ten overs, the West Indies innings was headed nowhere. It needed a partnership and that meant Deandra Dottin, known for her big hitting, had to play out of her comfort zone. But to make matters worse, Merissa Aguilleira was done in by the frustration and pressure of the scoring rate as she miscued a pull to mid-wicket.
At that stage, Dottin was on 10 off 19 balls. In an attacking move, Salma brought long-on into the ring. It was a moment that riggered Dottin's gun as she smashed two boundaries over mid-on to gain some momentum.
That inspired Stacy-Ann King to fire a few big blows of her own as she cleared mid-wicket for one of the biggest sixes of the day in next over, the 13th of the innings. While the wickets kept coming, West Indies continued to fire away. But after the brisk 40-run stand came a double strike from Khajida Tul Kumbra, the off-spinner.
The over in itself was eventful. King chipped a return catch off the first ball, Dottin smashed a six over long-on off the second and was caught at long-off off the third. Bangladesh sniffed a chance to wrap up the innings as West Indies was reduced to 90 for 6 in 16 overs. But a cameo of 15 by Mohammed allowed West Indies to take the innings into the last over and finish with a respectable total.
Bangladesh began well with Ayasha Rahman playing a crunching cover drive off the first ball, but some tight bowling bottled the scoring rate. Playing to the expectations of the crowd added to the pressure as it found itslef slipping behind. Soon enough, the nerves began to show.
Rahman was bowled looking to run one down to third man, while Sanjida Islam was run-out four balls later. The escalating asking rate didn't allow any of the batters coming down the order to settle in. Rumana Ahmed, who came out at No. 5, started positively and took Bangladesh to within 51 runs with six overs left. Ahmed was tactful in her shot selection, employing the paddle and delicate dabs off the slower bowlers, but was left to win the match on her own with wickets falling quickly at the other end.
The final nail in the coffin was when Ahmed stepped out to play the glory shot and found Tremayne Smartt at cover on 26. Quintyne's figures at that stage read 3 for 3, with Bangladesh needing 42. It was a day in which she may have been rewarded with a wicket even if she would've bowled blindfolded, as Bangladesh was left to rue West Indies's late flourish with the bat after doing a lot of things right.