A blistering innings of 124 from Shakib al Hasan led Bangladesh to a straightforward win against West Indies. The target was 322 and Bangladesh reached it with seven wickets and 8.3 overs to spare. This was a record-breaking performance, Bangladesh’s highest successful run chase in ODI cricket and the second highest – after Ireland’s triumphant pursuit against England in Bangalore – in World Cup history.
For West Indies it was heartbreaking. Their early defeat of Pakistan raised hopes of a revival in this form of the game but since then they have been frail in body and mind. Here they tried to impose their plan A when defending a substantial total. That failed. And they did not have a plan B. The selection of their side did not permit one. They played five fast bowlers with Gayle as the only spin option. Four of the pacemen were tall right-handers inclined to bang the ball into the pitch. But this did not worry the Bangladesh batsmen a jot.
Bangladesh are now the undisputed leaders of the chasing pack. Next up for them is Australia at Trent Bridge. They will not be taken for granted.