Coming into Saturday night's fixture in Lauderhill, Bangladesh had never played at the Central Broward Regional Park. The squad had been in discussions with the ICC and USA Cricket to organise a warm-up fixture against a USA XI to get a sense of how the pitch would play, but they fell apart at the last minute.
The lone player in their squad to have any kind of meaningful experience at this ground was Shakib Al Hasan, having played four times in Lauderhill for Jamaica Tallawahs in 2016 and 2017 during the Caribbean Premier League. His team-mates leaned on the captain for that invaluable local knowledge to help end West Indies' unbeaten record at the venue. Player of the Match Tamim Iqbal also credited Shakib for shifting the tide of the innings with his arrival to the crease.
"I think Shakib changed the momentum, to be very honest," Tamim said after the match that went down to the final over. "As soon as he came in, he started to get the boundaries and I think that knock of his was special. Because we didn't have a flying [start in] first ten overs, his innings was something really important."
Though West Indies produced their best-ever T20I score the last time they played a completed match at the venue in 2016 with 245 against India, 170-180 has been a par first-innings score here in the last two CPL seasons. Bangladesh looked like they would struggle to achieve that when Soumya Sarkar fell at 48 for 3 in the eighth over before Shakib's arrival spurred Tamim out of his shell in a 90-run stand.
The Bangladesh captain struck Keemo Paul over the off side twice to start the tenth over and got a stroke of luck in the 11th when he top-edged Kesrick Williams over the keeper for his third boundary. But he whipped the heavily partisan 7000-strong Bangladesh crowd into a frenzy with three more boundaries off Williams in the 13th over to provide the much-needed impetus.
"We always knew that we were capable of coming back strongly," Tamim said. "After the first ten overs, we recovered really well and got the maximum runs that we could have scored. We knew they had got some serious power-hitters in the team, so we needed to keep on getting wickets and that's exactly what happened.
"Sometimes 200 is not enough, sometimes 150 is enough. So we knew that we need to give our best. We need to field as best as we can and that's what we did. I think every bowler did their job. Fizz (Mustafizur Rahman) was brilliant, Abu Hider was special. I think everybody did their job."
A pivotal sequence happened in the 14th over when Tamim, on 47, miscued a drive off captain Carlos Brathwaite to mid-off where Rovman Powell shuffled right for a straightforward chance at waist height but the ball popped out. Tamim brought up a 35-ball fifty in the following over before commencing a vicious onslaught on Andre Russell in an over that won the match for Bangladesh.
"We didn't have the right attitude in the field," Brathwaite told Cricket West Indies after the match. "I think we were a bit casual. We didn't have the same intensity as the first game. I think due to our lapses in the field, we had to chase more than we wanted to.
"I guess it's questionable if we should have batted or bowled first but I still think I made the right decision in sending them in to bat first. With the start that we had, I think we should have been chasing 150 and if we had been chasing that much, we would have gotten over the line."
Bangladesh were not entirely perfect in the field either with two catches going down, but they balanced it out, thanks to a pair of sensational catches taken by Liton Das at deep midwicket. West Indies were way ahead of Bangladesh's Powerplay rate at 48 for 2 in the fifth over when Marlon Samuels slammed a drive towards Liton who had little time but covered about ten yards quickly before lunging forward late to snatch the low chance.
The second one came in the 17th over when West Indies needed 41 off 23 and Brathwaite slammed Shakib to the leg side and ad Liton tracked 15 yards left for the chance as a team-mate from long-on hared right. Avoiding a nasty collision, Liton took the catch a yard inside the boundary rope.
What was especially impressive was that both catches were taken in the presence of floodlights that are not especially bright.
"When we were sitting outside, we were feeling that maybe the light is not enough but when we were batting or fielding I thought the light was fine," Tamim said. "I didn't find anything wrong with it. I thought it's completely fine and I think the ground is 100% ready for night games.
"T20 cricket, a lot depends on fielding as well. If somebody takes a brilliant catch or a brilliant run-out, that changes a lot of things. Liton Das took two quite brilliant catches. I think that was special as well."