Brilliant Samuels the difference in T20
Marlon Samuels's brilliance allowed West Indies to sign off their Bangladesh tour on a high note with an 18-run win in yesterday's one-off Twenty20 International but not before suffering a scare from hosts still gushing from their 50-overs series triumph.
West Indies piled up 197 for four from their 20 overs but needed an astonishing unbeaten 85 off a mere 43 balls from Samuels to reach a challenging total, after opting to take first knock at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
Samuels smashed three fours and nine incredible sixes to decimate the Bangladesh attack late in the innings as West Indies gathered 75 runs from the last five overs. He savagely struck four sixes and a four in the final over from seamer Rubel Hossain which cost 29 runs.
A pumped-up Bangladesh then staged a daring run chase, courtesy of high powered, unbeaten half-centuries from opener Tamim Iqbal (88) and Mahmudullah (64), before narrowly falling short in the end to finish on 179 for one.
Required to score at nearly ten an over to win the contest, the Tigers roared to 43 without loss after three overs, to unsettle West Indies before off-spinners Chris Gayle and Samuels dried up the runs with miserly spells.
Before his annihilation by Samuels, Rubel Hossain was the early hero, bowling both openers Gayle (six) and Dwayne Smith (24) middle stump in successive overs, to leave West Indies stuttering on 30 for two in the fifth over.
Samuels then anchored two partnerships, the first which steadied the innings and the second which gave it the explosive thrust it required.
He added 66 off 42 balls for the third wicket with Darren Bravo who struck 41, and then dominated an unbroken 76-run, fifth wicket stand off 32 deliveries with Lendl Simmons (18 not out).
Bravo, who faced 28 balls and counted five fours and two sixes, took the attack to Bangladesh with a series of classy strokes as Samuels played the supporting role.
The left-hander's first scoring stroke was a sublime cover-driven boundary off Rubel and he followed up with sixes over long-on in successive overs off off-spinner Mahmudullah and left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak.
One big stroke too many saw him stumped off off-spinner Sohag Gazi at 96 for three in the 12th over, paving the way for Samuels's fireworks.
Dropped on 10 and 23 by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim off medium-pacer Ziaur Rahman, Samuels made the most of his leases on life by rapidly accelerating the Windies scoring.
He took a pair of sixes off Abdur Razzak's third over that cost 15 runs and followed up by clearing extra cover with an extraordinary shot off Rubel, to move to the brink of his half-century.
Kieron Pollard briefly joined in the fun, bludgeoning two sixes before losing his off-stump to Ziaur Rahman in the 15th over. Simmons entered but was reduced to a mere bystander.
It was in the last over of the innings that Samuels made his mark, however. A single off the first delivery gifted him the strike and he proceeded to clear the ropes with the next three balls. The fifth delivery was muscled through cover for another boundary before Samuels ended the innings emphatically with a six over long-on.
Bangladesh's answer was to take 17 from the opening over sent down by captain Darren Sammy, with a further 17 coming from the third over bowled by the out-of-sorts medium pacer Andre Russell.
Teenaged opener Anamul Haque's cameo 22 from 12 balls ended when he skied fast bowler Kemar Roach to Sammy at mid-off, but Tamim and the outstanding Mahmudullah kept up the pressure with an unbroken 132-run, second wicket partnership.
The left-handed Tamim stroked ten fours and two sixes off 61 balls while Mahmudullah struck three fours and four sixes off 48 balls.
However, 15 runs an over off the last five proved too tall an order for the Tigers.