Rain Throws Group B Wide Open

Tue, Feb 18, '03


WI World Cup

South Africa were thrown an unexpected World Cup lifeline when rain robbed West Indies of a likely victory over Bangladesh in Group B on Tuesday.

West Indies were just starting to tighten the screws on Bangladesh when the heavens opened up and the match was abandoned without a result. Both teams were awarded two points, but West Indies were the real losers as Bangladesh have not won a limited-overs international for four years.

The result left West Indies still needing to win their remaining three matches to make the Super Sixes, while opening the door for hosts South Africa whose hopes had been left hanging by a thread when they lost two of their first three matches in the tournament.

West Indies made 244 for nine after being put into bat before reducing Bangladesh to 32 for two in 8.1 overs.

With light rain falling before the start of play and the forecast of showers in the afternoon, West Indies' hopes of a quick kill were dashed when Bangladesh captain Khaled Mashud won the toss and elected to field.

Humiliated by Canada in their first game crushed by Sri Lanka in their second, Bangladesh showed genuine signs of improvement as their bowlers restricted West Indies to 244-9.

West Indies made a slow start and were just 158-5 after 40 overs when Ricardo Powell smashed a half-century off just 30 balls, the fastest of the tournament, to lift them to a respectable total.

Powell clubbed four sixes and three fours to reach his 50 in just 33 minutes, sharing a 59-run partnership with Carl Hooper after medium-pacer Ehsanul Haque had captured the vital wickets of Brian Lara for 46 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 29.

Powell's second six, off Mashud, not only cleared the boundary rope but sailed right over the temporary stands and out of Willowmoore Park.

He brought up his 50 with his fourth six but threw his wicket away next ball by holing out to Manjurul Islam in the deep.

Hooper made 45 off 58 balls, including a six off Mohammad Rafique that ended up in the West Indian dressing room, while Lara made a patient 46 off 76 balls after Bangladesh struck early to remove openers Chris Gayle (0) and Wavell Hinds (18) in the first 10 overs.

Lara and Chanderpaul shared a 68-run third-wicket stand before the latter was trapped lbw by Ehsanul.

Lara, who scored a match-winning century in the opening match of the tournament against South Africa, seemed to be on his way to another big score when he carelessly drove the ball to Al-Sahariar at extra cover.

Bangladesh made a shaky start to their reply, with openers Ehsanul and Al-Sahariar both surviving dropped catches in the slips.

Al-Sahariar was dropped by Gayle off the first ball he faced and Ehsanul was twice spilled by the normally reliable Hooper.

Their luck quickly ran out, however, as Gayle held a second, more difficult chance from Al-Sahariar off the bowling of Vasbert Drakes and Mervyn Dillon clean bowled Ehsanul two balls later.

Mohammad Ashraful was on eight and Sanwar Hossain on two when persistent rain forced the players off at 2.55pm SA time and the match was officially abandoned two hours later.