Rain plays spoilsport

As was feared rain robbed the West Indies of two points in the Group `B' league match.

G. VISWANATH

Monjural Islam tries to field the ball as Ridley Jacobs stops Corey Colleymore from coming through for a single. Islam bagged three wickets.-— Pic. AP

AFTER the stunning defeat against New Zealand, the Proteas' skipper Shaun Pollock said his team's passage into the Super Six stage of the ICC World Cup would largely depend on the results of the matches involving the West Indies and Sri Lanka, the other formidable teams in Group `B'. Thus, Pollock would have got some solace from the result of the match between West Indies and Bangladesh at the Willowmoore Park, Benoni.

The threat of rain playing spoilsport had loomed large, following overnight showers that lashed the small town near Johannesburg. Though it will host a second match between New Zealand and Canada on March 3, this match involving a lightweight had evoked considerable interest.

As was feared rain robbed the West Indies of two points in the Group `B' league match. The West Indies made 244 for nine wickets on a spongy type of pitch that deterred free strokeplay. The ball did not come up to be hit and stopped just enough to create confusion in the batsman's mind. Only Lara attempted to defeat the conditions, while Ricardo Powell was successful in hitting the ball hard and long.

The Bangladesh captain Khaled Mashud made a smart move. He sensed a chance to get two points from the match and decided to field first, the intention being to be on the field long enough for the vagaries of nature to come into play. Among those who can be described as medium-pacers, left-armer Manjurul Islam looked decent while bowling over the wicket. Talha Jubair was wayward and Khaled Mahmud bowled at military medium.

In the absence of sunshine and wind, the pitch did not improve and Bangladesh's slow bowlers managed to rein in the West Indies batsmen. Lara played some lovely shots and also defended stoically before being dismissed when Al Sahariar threw himself to his right to take a fine catch. Lara made 46 in 109 minutes, faced 76 balls and struck five fours.

The West Indies' batting might have been further exposed had Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul not been circumspect. Their partnership of 68 baulked the Bangladesh bowlers. Carl Hooper began with a six, but thereafter was not given the leeway to score another boundary shot.

In the end, Powell's powerplay did the trick for the West Indies. He struck four 6s, all cleanly hit and three fours to make an exact 50 off 31 balls before Sanwar Hossain came under the ball a few metres inside deep square leg to take a catch and send the right-hander back to the pavilion.

In the Bangladesh innings, the West Indies fielders, Chris Gayle and Hooper, dropped sitters at slip, before the former bent low to his left to pick up a catch from Al Sahariar off Vasbert Drakes. Mervyn Dillon hit the top of Enamul Haque's middle stump at 140 kmph speed. The umpires stopped play after 8.1 overs had been bowled. At 5 p.m. the match was called off, with West Indies and Bangladesh getting two points each.

The scores:

West Indies: W. Hinds c Al-Sahariar b Mahmud 18; C. Gayle c Hossain b Islam 0; B. Lara c Al-Sahariar b Haque 46; S. Chanderpaul lbw b Haque 29; C. Hooper c & b Kapali 45; R. Sarwan c & b Mahmud 13; R. Powell c Hossain b Islam 50; R. Jacobs (not out) 6; V. Drakes (run out) 0; M. Dillon c Ashraful b Islam 10; C. Colleymore (not out) 0; Extras (b-1, lb-6, w-13, nb-7) 27. Total (for nine wickets in 50 overs) 244.

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-40, 3-107, 4-130, 5-158, 6-217, 7-231, 8-231, 9-242.

Bangladesh bowling: Islam 10-0-62-3, Jubair 8-0-46-0, Mahmud 10-1-48-2, Haque 10-0-34-2, Rafique 10-0-44-0, Kapali 2-1-3-1.

Bangladesh: Al-Sahariar c Gayle b Drakes 5; E. Haque b Dillon 12; M. Ashraful (not out) 8; S. Hossain (not out) 2; Extras (w-3, lb-2) 5; Total (for two wickets in 8.1 overs) 32.

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-19.

West Indies bowling: Dillon 4.1-0-13-1, Drakes 4-1-17-1.