Captain Nicholas Pooran was at his devastating best in blazing the West Indies to a comfortable five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the third and final T20 International at the Guyana National Stadium on Thursday. Pooran’s unbeaten 74, and 55 from opening batsman Kyle Mayers anchored the home side’s pursuit of the visitors’ total of 163 for five.
The hosts reached 169 for five with ten balls to spare to take the series 2-0 after the first fixture in Dominica last Saturday had ended in a rain-ruined no-result.
Having come to the crease with the innings at 43 for three in the seventh over, Pooran asserted himself from the outset. With fellow left-hander Mayers following suit, the pair transformed a potentially tough challenge into a relaxed canter by the end in a rollicking fourth-wicket stand of 85 off eight overs.
Responding in the best manner possible to repeated criticism of his run of low scores and poor shot selection, the home skipper belted five sixes and fours in an innings which occupied just 39 deliveries.
“I definitely love Guyana and love performing here,” said Pooran after receiving the “Man of the Match” and “Man of the Series” awards. “I ask my players to trust me, even if they don’t always like me.”
Mayers, whose stature in all formats continues to grow after being named “Man of the Series” in the preceding two-Test contest, smashed five sixes and two fours in his 38-ball innings before falling to left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed in the 15th over.
By then the result was a formality. Pooran sealed victory with a towering straight six off his Bangladeshi counterpart Mahmudullah.
Mahmudullah had opted to bat first and was indebted to Afif Hossain and opener Liton Das for what looked a challenging total.
Afif’s even 50 off 38 balls, with two sixes and two fours, and Liton’s 49 off 41 balls, with two sixes and three fours, followed a couple early setbacks.
They put on 57 for the third wicket before Mahmudullah contributed 22 in a 49-run fourth-wicket stand with Afif.
However they struggled to accelerate towards the end of the innings with the West Indies spinners, especially Hayden Walsh (two for 25), proving effective in stemming the flow of runs.
“That partnership between Mayers and Pooran took the game away from us,” Mahmudullah acknowledged. “Our bowlers should have stuck to their lines. It really needs to improve.”
Both teams stay in Guyana for a three-match One-Day International series starting on Sunday.