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Tamim Iqbal was slow during his hundred but in the end, it was effective……

Bangladesh defied all the odds and punched above their weight in the first ODI against Sri Lanka at Providence to emerge victorious. They almost forgot how a victory tasted after two weeks of a drubbing in the Caribbean, where they were thrashed in the two-match Test series. Bangladesh were done and dusted and had a mountain to climb in the ODI series to gain any kind of momentum whatsoever. They needed their veterans to step up and deliver.

Bangladeshi opener Tamim Iqbal exhibited some astute batsmanship and carried his bat in the first innings. He scored an extra-ordinary hundred on a surface, which had enough help for the bowlers throughout the innings. Tamim is widely reckoned for his belligerence; he doesn’t hold back and likes to take on the bowlers from the outset. But this outing from Tamim at Providence left a lot of people bewildered. He curbed his natural instincts and played a gem of an innings to help Bangladesh post a competitive total on a ready for action surface.

Bangladesh desperately needed a win under their belt and this 48-run victory will infuse a plethora of confidence in this determined side. Tamim delivered when his team needed the most and scored his 10th ODI ton, out of which seven have come in a winning cause.

On a slow wicket with some cracks, batting was always going to be difficult. West Indies drew the first blood in the form of Anamul Haque after which, Tamim and Shakib Al Hasan combined well to stitch a match-winning partnership. Tamim made some canny adjustments to score big. Bangladesh needed him to score big, he did get few reprieves but ensured he made the utmost use of it. He walked back to the pavilion unbeaten on 130, a sluggish century though but got the job done for his side. 130 off 160 with is not something one relates with Tamim Iqbal. He is a stroke-maker, but a champion player always makes amends to conquer the situation, which he did.

Tamim’s 130 off 160 deliveries is the slowest ton by a Bangladeshi batsman, but it laid the foundation of a challenging total. He reassessed the situation and had to bat as long as possible. The sight of Tamim curbing his natural instincts and meeting the demands was joyful. He brought all his experience into play and along with Shakib, they accounted for a record 207 runs stand, which the highest between them. This is also the second-highest partnership for Bangladesh for any wicket in ODIs.

This partnership turned the game on its head. Bangladesh bowlers did an effective job, but the fact that most of the West Indies batsmen struggled to get going speaks about the importance of this partnership. This outing from Tamim has only strengthened his spot at the top, which was already firm. He didn’t have a great run in the Test series and needed a big score to rediscover his rhythm.

Speaking about his knock, Tamim was quoted in a report from ESPNCricinfo saying, “A match-winning innings is always special. It wasn’t a wicket to bat on. I and Shakib had to work really hard to get to a strong position. It was spinning as well as helping the fast bowlers at least till the 25th over. We just planned to dig in and without thinking about the score, stretch the innings as long as possible. We had a target in our mind and because of Mushfiqur’s cameo, we got 20 runs more.”

Tamim’s presence gives that kind of assurance and has been a prolific run-scorer at the top. He is Bangladesh’s top run scorer in ODIs as well as Tests and his presence will now be lethal for West Indies at the top. He is the kind of a player who will express himself and play his strokes once in form. After a terrible time in the Test series, Tamim has now announced himself in this series. He has rediscovered his lost mojo and will look to continue his good form throughout the series.

Bangladesh have a golden chance of winning this series and seek revenge for the loss of Test series. For them to do so, it is pivotal for the runs to flow from top and Tamim will certainly have a huge role to play. He has the experience and talent, expect West Indies to come out hard against him. As of now, Tamim has written another chapter in his career with this sluggish yet impactful ton at Providence.

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