Powell, Drakes shine in abandoned one-dayer

Stabroek News
November 30, 2002

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RICARDO POWELL and Vasbert Drakes presented tangible justification for their recall to West Indies colours here yesterday before rain denied them a fitting climax to their performances.

Powell, reinstated for the ICC Champions Trophy in September after almost a yearís absence, repelled a spirited Bangladesh effort in the first of three one-day internationals here with a breathtaking innings of 88 off 55 balls.

His clean, powerful hitting that featured six sixes and seven fours was in absolute contrast to the struggles of the other batsmen against steady bowling supported by dazzling catching and outfielding.

It propelled the West Indies to 111 of the last 10 of their 50 overs and a commanding total of 275 for seven.

Drakes, whose cricket was confined to South Africa and England for seven years before he became eligible for selection again for the same ICC tournament, then ripped through the Bangladesh top order with high class swing bowling that emphasised the value of experience.

He had all four wickets before the weather closed in and the match was abandoned with Bangladesh 89 for four after 17 overs, eight short of the quota required to constitute a match.

Had play resumed sufficient for the mandatory 25 overs to be complete, their target under the dreaded Duckworth/Lewis system would have 97 more of the remaining eight.

Powell and Drakes were the only ones to come out of the exercise with any satisfaction against opponents who came at them with an intensity that took them by surprise but delighted the 20,000 Bangladeshis in the M.A. Aziz Stadium.

Once they won the toss and chose to bowl, Bangladesh belied their record as international cricketís whipping boys who have won only three one-day internationals and lost their last 23.

They used only two quick bowlers, the experienced left-armer Manjural Islam and the bustling Tapash Baishya, and relied more on four spinners, Mohammed Raffique (left-arm), Naimur Rehman (off-breaks) and the teenagers Mohammed Ashraful and Alok Kapali (leg-breaks and googlies).

Until Powell arrived to replace Ramnaresh Sarwan at 142 for four after 35.4 overs, they had put such a brake on the scoring that they had not conceded a boundary for 119 balls before Powell slapped Ashraful square for his first four.

The pitch, bone hard and cracked, offered the bowlers more than any in the preceding one-day series in India and none of the batsmen who had so prospered there could come to terms with it.

Wavell Hinds did bat with increasing assurance for 30 off 34 balls but then fell to clever Bangladeshi planning, hoisting Manjuralís slower ball into the lap of the precisely placed long-off.

Marlon Samuels lasted only 15 balls before he was caught at deep point off Raffique.

Chris Gayle needed 70 unconvincing balls to score 38 and was then run out from mid-wicket when sent back by Sarwan whose 36 occupied 66 balls and contained a solitary boundary.

The pressure induced a low drive from Sarwan to extra-cover off Ashrafulís leg-break and the run rate was just over four an over, and falling, when Powell arrived to utterly transform the game.

There were definite hints in his few late-over innings in India of a more selective approach to his strokeplay and he was soon using his strong wrists and shoulders, keen sense of timing and heavy bat to belt boundaries in all directions.

His assault inspired the previously becalmed Daren Ganga to despatch two sixes of his own over long-off and suddenly the Bangaldeshis lost their control and their nerve.

Ganga was caught at long-on for 44 from 55 balls after a partnership of 62 in 10 overs but nothing could halt Powell until the penultimate ball that he skied to deep cover.

The rampant Jamaican raised his 50 from 37 balls with his third six. His remaining 38 runs were plundered from 13 balls with three more sixes and three more fours.

The target was always going to be beyond a Bangladesh team that has never managed as many in a one-day international.

Drakes quickly guaranteed it would remain so.

While Jermaine Lawson and Corey Collymore sprayed the ball around from the opposite end, he found the requisite line around off-stump to complement his movement each way.

Hannan Sarkar, Habibul Basher and the teeneaged Ashraful (Test cricketís youngest century-maker with his hundred against Sri Lanka last year) all edged ou-tswingers. Mohammed Al Sharier drove outside an inswinger.

They were Drakesí best return in one-day internationals but would have been better but for a couple of missed chances - one his own, the other by Powell when second slip was belatedly placed - and the field setting of his captain, now Ridley Jacobs instead of the equally inflexible Carl Hooper. If you canít be more adventurous than having a solitary slip against Bangladesh, with 275 in the bank, then when? In the end, it didnít matter but, more often than not, it will.

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