Dhaka, Bangladesh – Lendl Simmons played a magnificent match-winning innings to pilot West Indies to a comfortable 40-run victory over Bangladesh on Thursday. The 26-year-old opener recorded his maiden international century of 122 off 124 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes as the Windies made 298-4 off 50 overs.
They then limited Bangladesh to 258-7 with pacers Ravi Rampaul (2-35) and Andre Russell (2-44) along with off-spinner Marlon Samuels (2-42) doing the damage in front a crowd of 22,000 at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. The result gave West Indies a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
After the match Simmons said he was delighted to get his first triple-figure score for West Indies at the international level.
"I’m truly delighted to get my first century for West Indies and the fact that it came in a West Indies victory makes it an even better feeling. It was a special knock today. I would like to dedicate today’s innings to my mother and daughter," he said.
It has been a good year for Simmons in ODI format. He had scores of 51, 51, 76 and 77 not out against Pakistan and 53 and 67 against India earlier this year in the Digicel Series in the Caribbean.
"I got some very good starts against Pakistan and India but I couldn’t convert them into hundreds. I was happy I managed to carry-on all the way today. I know I have to accept the responsibility of giving the team a platform. I always aim big. I always try to give the team a good start so we could get the foundation and look to build big scores. It worked well today and we are looking forward to the matches ahead," the Windies Number 54 said.
Simmons’ knock was the highest ODI score by a West Indian against Bangladesh, surpassing the 117 made by Brian Lara in 1999. Simmons featured in a partnership of 150 with Samuels, who continued his good form with a stroke-filled 71 off 78 balls – with six fours and two sixes. At the bottom of the innings power-hitter Kieron Pollard slammed 41 off 25 balls with three big sixes as the last 10 overs yielded 88 runs.
After the match, Simmons said it was a good pitch to bat on. He outlined that in the early stages of the innings he was deliberately watchful, knowing that he could make up at the back end of the innings. He also noted that was great to bat with Samuels at the other end.
"The pitch was nice [for batting]. The ball came on to the bat. I was trying to get the pace of the wicket [pitch] as fast as possible. We didn’t get the start we wanted in the first five overs but by the end of the first Powerplay we got to our target. Then we just went on with the momentum," Simmons said.
"Marlon has been in great form from the start of the tour and he playing really well. He is showing his ability with both the bat and the ball and we are playing around him. He dominated the Twenty20 and today he showed his class. He has been an inspiration. All the guys see that he has form. Our partnership was a good one and it got us to a good score which won us the match."
Before the match captain Darren Sammy was ruled out of the match with upset stomach. The team was led by Denesh Ramdin. Sammy is expected to be fit for Saturday’s second One-Day International at the same venue. Opener Adrian Barath, who retired hurt on 21 with a hamstring strain, will have a full assessment done on Friday.