Bangladesh Test and Twenty20 skipper Sakib al Hasan marked his 12 years in international cricket with another success when he led his team from the front to 2-1 series win over West Indies in the three-match Twenty20 series that ended in Florida on Monday.
The 31-year old cricketer, who made his international debut on the same date in 2006, shone with bat and bowl in the series against the reigning world champions to complete the turnaround for Bangladesh after two embarrassing defeats in the Test series.
Sakib scored highest 103 runs in the series against the Caribbean side with a handy average of 34.33 along with picking three wickets at an economy rate of 6.68 that guided Bangladesh to only their second Twenty20 series victory in abroad.
Man of the series Sakib, the current number one all-rounder in Test and one-day internationals, who was the architect of countless success of Bangladesh cricket since his introduction to international cricket, was pleased with his effort in the series.
‘I think I was batting well throughout the series,’ Sakib said in a post-match interview.
‘I was hitting the ball well, which also helped me bowl well and captain well. Even the guys not playing put their hearts into it and tried to help in whatever way they could. Couldn’t have asked for anything more,’ he added.
Sakib’s efforts in the series came at a very crucial time with Bangladesh being outplayed 3-0 against Afghanistan in a Twenty20 series before their West Indies tour that raised so many question marks on the Tigers’ ability in the shortest format.
The Tigers’ sufferings in Twenty20s continued in the series opener against the Caribbean side as they received a crushing seven-wicket defeat in St Kitts, which raised more concerns.
However, the fortune turned to the favour Bangladesh in Florida with Sakib started to show his master-class having scored his first Twenty20 fifty in nearly two-and-a-half year.
He added two vital wickets to 60 off 38 balls conceding just 19 runs to his full total, making a vital contribution to Bangladesh’s 12-run win, a result which came after their five consecutive defeats in this format.
The all-rounder, who was involved in three fifty-plus partnerships with Tamim Iqbal in the one-day series (207, 97, and 81), continued their superb run and added 90 runs to build the foundation for the win.
On Monday, Sakib also played his part with a crucial 22-ball 24 as well as finishing with 1-22 giving a very surprising series victory over the reigning world champions.
Sakib also credited his team-mates for their success in the series and he claimed that the players had the belief to make a turnaround.
‘Unbelievable effort from the boys,’ he said in the prize giving ceremony. ‘After losing the first game, we showed a lot of characters,’ he said.
‘Everybody believed we could come back. We were facing the world champions, and we showed great character.
‘We have been doing well in ODIs for the last 3-4 years, since the 2015 World Cup. This T20 series win now gives us the confidence that we can perform well in T20s as well,’ he added.
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