An astounding display of power hitting by Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful and dashing Aftab Ahmed secured a comprehensive 6 wicket win over West Indies with 2 overs to spare at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg today.
Chasing a victory target of 164 in 20 overs, Bangladesh did not get the desired start as they lost reliable Nazimuddin in the second over of the match with only 2 runs on the board.
Ashraful responded to the situation brilliantly and shared a 109 run partnership with Aftab Ahmed in just 10.2 overs with blistering display of cricket shots to send West Indies packing without a win in the inaugural Twenty20 world cup.
Ashraful tore West Indies attack apart in his 27 ball 61 and registered fastest fifty in the history of Twenty20 International, off just 20 balls. At the other end Aftab played his innings of life to guide Bangladesh home after the departure of skipper Ashraful and remained unbeaten on 62.
Ashraful nonchalantly clouted boundaries after boundaries and Aftab Ahmed aptly joined the party as West Indian attack imploded at Wanderers. Ashraful smacked 7 fours and 3 sixes in his blitzkrieg innings and Aftab walloped 8 boundaries and one six which sailed over the fine leg to the stand.
Earlier, Bangladesh won the crucial toss and decided to field first after an unscheduled one hour delay due to damp pitch caused by over watering by groundstaff. Syed Rasel removed the danger man Chris Gayle with a gem of delivery in the very first over and set the tone of the match for Bangladesh. While run leaked from the other end, Rasel kept everything tight and conceded only 10 runs which is the most economical spell in Twenty20 history.
A second-wicket 95 run stand between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Devon Smith helped West Indies to recover from the shoddy start, and West Indies were well on course for yet another big score after their mammoth 205 in the first match of the tournament.
Introduction of spin pegged West Indies back and Bangladesh were well on top until 16th over of the innings. The West Indian innings gathered a dramatic momentum in the last 4 overs as Bangladesh skipper continued with his leg spin, and Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith clobbered Ashraful for flurry of fours and sixes. Ashraful conceded 44 runs in his last 2 overs and West Indies posted a challenging 164 in the must win game.
Shakib Al Hasan was the most successful Bangladesh bowler and pouched 3 wickets in the last over of the match to raise his match tally to 4 for 34. Abdur Razzak grabbed 2 wickets in his impressive spell conceding 25 runs.
Bangladesh is now leading the points table of Group A, also involving South Africa, and progressed into the second round with one match remaining.
Bangladesh will play their last group match against host South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The day night affair will be Bangladesh's first appearance under light in Twenty20 cricket.