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Shakib stars again in Bangladesh record chase at World Cup

June 17, 2019
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Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, second left, and teammates celebrate winning the Cricket World Cup match between West Indies and Bangladesh at The Taunton County Ground, Taunton, south west England, Monday June 17, 2019. (David Davies/PA via AP)

TAUNTON, England (AP) — Shakib Al Hasan argued for a promotion and kept getting turned down.

He wanted to move up the Bangladesh batting lineup from No. 5 to No. 3 in one-day internationals, copying where he batted in Twenty20s. But not until after Chandika Hathurusingha moved on as national coach did Shakib get what he wanted.

“If I bat at 5, I’ll come in at the 30th over or 40th over, which I feel is not ideal for me,” he says.

Given more time to bat, he’s made No. 3 ideal by force of will and producing large numbers. Since the start of 2018, Shakib has averaged 60.05 from 20 innings, capped on Monday by his second consecutive century at the Cricket World Cup, a match-winning 124 not out in beating the West Indies by seven wickets.

Thanks to a great start by Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar in their chase of 322 to win, Shakib arrived in the seventh over with the West Indians under increasing pressure to try and contain Bangladesh.

It didn’t happen.

A mix of bold batting and poor bowling helped Bangladesh pull off its highest successful run chase in World Cups, and the second best ever.

On 23, Shakib became the second Bangladeshi to reach 6,000 ODI runs, after his batting partner Tamim.

On 84, he became the tournament’s leading run-scorer.

A cover boundary got him to his hundred off 83 balls, his ninth in ODIs and his fastest, and second straight after 121 in a loss to England.

Flaying the West Indies with pulls and cuts, Shakib finished unbeaten on 124, including 16 boundaries, and watched partner Liton Das administer the coup de grace with his eighth boundary in an unbeaten 94.

The West Indies unleashed a barrage of short balls as promised, but it was badly executed and overdone, and Shakib cashed in.

“I was never in a rush,” he said. “I didn’t play too many good balls. I was patient enough to put the bad ball away.

“At this moment I’m seeing the ball really well. I just need to make sure I stay fresh, stay relaxed and enjoy what’s been going on, and keep on focusing on my game plan.”

Shakib paid tribute to Das, who was making his World Cup debut. When Das joined him in the 19th over at 133-3, he told him he believed they could win it from there.

“He never put me under pressure during the chase,” he said. “First match in the World Cup, coming into the team after (missing) four games, it’s not an easy situation for a player. But the way he handled the pressure was brilliant.

“I don’t know if this is the best I have been batting or not, but so far it’s going well, and fingers crossed, hope it continues.”

The two centuries added to 75 against South Africa and 64 against New Zealand, with the Sri Lanka match abandoned. Six of his seven innings this year are 50-plus. He’s also taken five wickets in the World Cup, including two against West Indies.

Shakib came to his fourth World Cup with the reputation as one of cricket’s best allrounders for more than a decade. Now the rest of the world is taking notice.

“Shakib Al Hasan has made it in this World Cup now,” captain Mashrafe Mortaza said. “In every match he’s doing something that’s exceptional. Let’s hope it continues for the team.”

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