Benoni: Carl Hooper's West Indies was deprived of two valuable points when its World Cup Group 'B' match against Bangladesh was abandoned due to bad weather at Willowmoore Park on Tuesday. Bangladesh, replying to the West Indies' 244-9, was struggling at 32-2 in the ninth over when rain and overcast conditions forced the match to be called off, giving both teams two points each.
The West Indies, which was hoping to win and join Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the top of Group 'B' with eight points, was left stranded at six points from three matches. Bangladesh, saved from recording its 28th defeat in the last 29 matches, picked up its first points in the tournament after losing the first two games. The unexpected result also throws a lifeline to beleaguered hosts South Africa which is now just two points behind the West Indies with four points. "We are very disappointed not to pick up four points here, but there is little one can do about the weather," Hooper said.
"It obviously puts some pressure on us now. We have now just have to win our match against Sri Lanka at the end of the month to qualify for the next round." The West Indies was sitting pretty as Ricardo Powell smashed 50 off 31 balls to help his team recover from 158-5 after being sent to bat in overcast conditions. The right-hander plundered four sixes and three boundaries as the West Indies took 84 runs in the last 10 overs. Bangladesh lost openers Al Sahariyar and Ehsanul Haque at the score of 19, before the heavens opened up and saved them from another defeat.
Brian Lara, who made 46, and Hooper, 45, were the other principal contributors for the West Indies. Left-arm seamer Manjurul Islam picked up three wickets, but Ehsanul Haque was the best bowler on view with 2-34 from 10 overs. Bangaldesh was clearly stung by the remarks of their Pakistani coach Mohsin Kamal on Monday that his side could not defeat the West Indies and it should try and just reduce the margin of defeat. "If we put in 110 percent, we will give a good account of ourselves in the game," Kamal had said. "But for Bangladesh it is not all about winning. It's a matter of how you minimize the margin of defeat."
Manjurul removed Chris Gayle for no score, while Mahmud took care of the other opener Wavell Hinds for 18 as the West Indies slipped to 41-2. Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul added 67 for the third wicket, before three middle-order batsmen fell in the space of 50 runs. Chanderpaul was trapped leg before by Ehsanul, who then took the prize wicket of Lara, driving a catch to Al Sahariar in the covers. Powell held the innings together till he holed out in the 48th over.
During the lunch break, Lara was confident the total was good enough to beat Bangladesh and secure four full points. "It may not look a very big score against Bangladesh, but hopefully we will win," he had said. The West Indies next plays Canada at Centurion on Sunday. Bangladesh clash with South Africa at Bloemfontein a day earlier.
| Copyright AFP 2001 |