West Indies were going about smoothly – at 100 for 3 in the 13th over – when Rovman Powell, the disruptor, entered Windsor Park in the second T20I. Walking on his slightly wide gait, he was expected to provide a grand finish to the foundation laid by Brandon King and Nicholas Pooran. The duo had added 74 for the third wicket, but the partnership was broken by Mosaddek Hossain’s wicket-maiden.
You couldn’t have faulted the Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah into thinking that a few more good overs would have West Indies on the ropes. Powell, however, knows that his task is to disrupt those plans that captains often have after breaking a big partnership. He stayed quiet in Shakib Al Hasan’s third over, before launching into him in his final over, and powered West Indies to 193 for 5, which proved to be too much for Bangladesh.
Powell later said that the 23-run 16th over changed the course of the match significantly. He probably realised that he was batting on a good pitch, before launching into an unbeaten 61 off 28 balls, with six sixes and two fours.
“We always sit in our batting meeting to talk about changing momentum and course of the game,” Powell said. “I think that over today from Shakib did that for us. It is very, very important to pick match-ups and bowlers. I reckoned Shakib wasn’t having the best of the days. I decided to go after him. There was five overs of pace in the back-end. The platform was already set by the captain and Brandon, who both played well before I got to the crease. It was just an opportunity for me to advance the scoring. To bat all the overs.”
Mahmudullah acknowledged that he was trying to protect Mosaddek from being hit easily through the leg side, which is why he brought on Shakib and Taskin Ahmed for the 16th and 17th overs, which leaked 23 and 17 respectively.
“I would have given Mosaddek more overs but there were two right-handers at the crease, and one of them was Rovman Powell. The leg-side boundary was short also. I didn’t want to take the risk. I brought Taskin and Shakib at that stage,” Mahmudullah explained. “Powell was outstanding today. He took the game away from us.”
Mosaddek did his part with both bat and ball, but it was limited to the opportunity he got. He was one of the two changes that Bangladesh brought on, with Munim Shahriar out with a back injury. The team management sent Litton Das and Anamul Haque to open, but neither took off.
“We found out this morning that Munim has a back problem. Since he didn’t play, we wanted to give Mosaddek a chance. Litton (Das) opened as a result,” Mahmudullah said. “We thought yesterday (July 2) that the wicket would grip for being under cover, that’s why we picked Nasum [Ahmed]. When we batted [in the first game], we saw it was a good wicket. We needed a fast bowler in that case, which is why we picked Taskin. It was a strategic move.
“A batter has to be able to bat anywhere in a T20. Litton made runs at No. 4 against West Indies in the last T20 World Cup. Litton is one of our best batsmen regardless of the stats [in T20s]. He is batting really well in Tests and ODIs. He probably hasn’t been able to convert it into T20s but we are still backing him up. We will have to shuffle our opening slot since we aren’t getting consistent batters there, but I think we have to focus on batting as a group, which is our strength.”
Powell, meanwhile, said that he doesn’t think of himself as a slogger, but more of a batter these days. He said that it is all part of his growth as a cricketer.
“I stopped looking at myself as a big hitter,” he said. “I start looking at myself as a batsman with power. With that comes control, know when to take a single, know when to attack. I think it has served me well so far.
“Growth is an important part in any professional sport. From both skill and mental perspective. I think I am growing in each passing year. I want to continue to learn.”
Powell said that they understood that their fans are looking forward to bigger things from this group ahead of the T20 World Cup laster this year. West Indies, in a bid to move on from the veterans, have picked a young side against Bangladesh with Powell as the deputy under new captain Pooran.
“It is a change in the guard, to be honest. Our legends Chris Gayle, [Dwayne] Bravo and [Kieron] Pollard sit back and let us youngsters come through. We have to take this opportunity to bring smiles back to the people of the Caribbean,” he said.