Shakib revels in majestic batting display

Taunton: Shakib Al Hasan admitted his match-winning 124 in Bangladesh’s World Cup victory over the West Indies ranked as one of the best moments of his career. Shakib’s majestic display paved the way for Bangladesh to record the second highest run chase in World Cup history as they reached 322-3 at Taunton on Monday.

Hitting 16 fours in his unbeaten 99-ball innings, Shakib was well supported by Liton Das, who scored 94 from 69 balls in his first World Cup appearance. The pair’s unbroken stand of 189 was the second highest for the fourth wicket in World Cup history. It was a memorable day for Shakib, who rated both his performance and his team’s among the greatest he has experienced. “It’s obviously one of the best, because the way we chased that run, the way I paced the innings, I was never in a rush. I didn’t have to play too many shots from a good ball,” he told reporters.

“I had to be patient. And I was patient enough to put the bad ball away. I think every time I did that quite well. And it’s one of the key things in my batting in this chase.”

Only Ireland’s 329-7 against England in 2011 stands as a bigger World Cup run chase. But Shakib insisted Bangladesh never doubted they could overhaul the West Indies’ total of 321-8. In the end, they reached the target with 8.3 overs to spare thanks to Shakib and Das.

“At the end of the first innings in the dressing room, no one felt that this was tough. Everyone was comfortable and was chilling,” he said. “It gave a lot of confidence in the dressing room and belief that we could chase that run. Once we started batting, I think the way the openers started their innings, everyone in the dressing room felt good and comfortable and relaxed. That helped us a lot. So at no point of time, we had to panic.”

Shakib has now scored two centuries in this World Cup after hitting 121 against England. In the course of the West Indies match, he became just the second player to score 6,000 career ODI runs for the Tigers. His heroics have kept Bangladesh in with a chance of making the semi-finals and Shakib hopes there are more golden moments to come. “I don’t know if this is the best I have been batting or not, but so far it’s going well and fingers crossed, hope it continues,” he said.

Jason Holder, West Indies skipper says the West Indies face a tough task to reach the World Cup semi-finals after their dismal seven-wicket defeat. The West Indies have lost three of their five matches and, with four games left, captain Holder conceded there is only a slim chance they can make the semi-finals in the 10-team tournament.

“It’s looking tough at this present moment, but it’s not impossible. We have to play every game here now as a final,” Holder said. “We’ve got to win every game left to give ourselves a really good chance.”

New Zealand and India, both in fine form, are the West Indies’ next two opponents and they must beat both to remain in contention. “If we want to go through into the semi-finals we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Holder said. “We’ve got to back ourselves and be more clinical with the ball. A few top edges didn’t go our way, but we didn’t help ourselves as well. We’ve also got to score more runs because we haven’t got a batsman with a hundred yet. I thought with the pitch dimensions we could have got 365-375 but we were well short, 40 or 50 runs.”