LONDON: West Indies took control of their World Cup clash with Bangladesh as Shai Hope’s 96 and the joint-fastest fifty of the tournament from Shimron Hetmyer inspired an imposing 321-8 at Taunton on Monday.
It seemed Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza might be rewarded for his decision to bowl first when the West Indies were contained to a sedate 94-1 from the first 22 overs.
But the Windies couldn’t be held in check in the second half of the innings as Hope laid the foundations for his country’s fourth highest World Cup score with a resolute 121-ball innings.
Hitting around Hope, Evin Lewis made 70 from 67 balls before Hetmyer smashed 50 in 26 balls, featuring four fours and three sixes
It was the equal fastest 50 in this year’s tournament and the third quickest by a West Indies batsman in World Cup history.
Bangladesh will need the second highest successful run chase in World Cup history to take maximum points.
“The pitch flattened out a bit more at the end and I was pretty pleased with 321,” Hope said.
“We’ve got a bit more pace and height so hopefully we can extract a bit more.”
West Indies opener Chris Gayle was expected to wreak havoc in the tournament, but the big-hitting 39-year-old has only managed scores of 50, 21 and 36.
Once again Gayle looked out of sorts and he went 12 balls without scoring before dangling his bat limply at Mohammad Saifuddin’s seaming delivery on the 13th, with the edge held low down by wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim.
Lewis kept grinding away and reached his first World Cup fifty from 58 balls.
That was the signal for the opener to step on the gas and he smashed a six and two fours in quick succession
But Lewis paid the price for his sudden aggression when he was caught off Shakib Al Hasan going for one more blast with the score on 122.
Lewis’s partnership of 116 with Hope was the West Indies’ first century stand of the World Cup.
A towering six from Nicholas Pooran off Mehidy Hasan Miraz left a hole in the roof of one of the Taunton stands.
But Pooran, on 25 from 30 balls, perished when he tried to slog-sweep Shakib and miscued to Soumya Sarkar at long-on.
Urgency finally injected into the innings, Hetmyer followed Pooran’s gung-ho example with a sublime display of hitting.
Blasting boundaries to all parts of the ground, Hetmyer passed 1,000 ODI runs in his 27th innings.
His flamboyant display was curtailed when he holed out off Mustafizur Rahman.
Skipper Jason Holder’s 33 from 15 balls — including four fours and two sixes — filled in admirably for Hetmyer to ensure the Windies went past 300.
Bangladesh have had the upper hand against the West Indies in recent meetings, winning six of the last seven, including all three games in the Tri-nation series in Ireland last month.
Both the West Indies and Bangladesh have won one of their four group matches, with two defeats and one no result apiece.