Bangladesh did just about enough to qualify for the Super 10s. They started off with a convincing victory against Afghanistan, a comfortable win against Nepal and for the first time ever, a loss to Hong Kong in which the batting of all the players was highly questionable. But 25th March was a brand new day, Bangladesh’s first in the super tens. This Bangladesh team consisted of Shakib, Mushfiq, Tamim, Mashrafe. Players who had done great things in the past. Players who definitely have the potential to surprise. Players who have not done justice to themselves or to their country by playing the way they have.
I expected very little, tried and failed to keep my hopes low. I wanted a victory. I wanted the rush of blood I got when Mushfiq smacked a six off Ravi Rampaul to win the T20 against the same opponents in 2011. I wanted to feel proud of my Tigers, as did the thousands of people who packed the stands.
The toss was won by Bangladesh and West Indies were put into bat first, a decision that seemed correct at that point. The first ball of the innings went for five wides.
The weather forecast said there was a possibility of a thunder storm occurring last night. The thunder storm never arrived and neither did the Gayle storm. The Chris Gayle on display seemed worlds apart from the man famous for scoring sixes at will in IPL, BBl, BPL etc. His ability to tear apart any bowling line up in the world on a given day, is a fact known and feared by all. That given day however was not yesterday. It was a little bit surprising to see him play dot balls and deal in mainly singles and twos. His opening partner though, more than made up for it.
Dwayne Smith who looked severely out of touch against India (he scored 11 off 29) turned out to be perhaps the only batsman who looked completely at ease. He also took advantage of the below par bowling and the poor fielding to score 72 runs off 43 deliveries.
Bangladesh’s performance on the field was not what you would expect from a team playing world class cricket. Catches that should have been taken somehow became boundaries, singles became twos, twos became fours. Added to that a total of nineteen extras were conceded, 10 of which were bys. Naturally, not much was available for the spectators to cheer about.
In the middle of all the woes, Tamim did manage to take a flier of a catch. Diving to his right he grasped on to the ball one handedly to remove Andre Russel for a duck. If only his valiant effort could have made more of a difference. He had displayed good presence of mind to take another catch previously as well. It gave us the hope that he would take the confidence into the second innings and play as we know he is capable of playing. Alas!
Bangladesh’s openers started positively in the first two overs or so. But once the wickets started tumbling they didn’t stop. One reason I was happy to see Mominul Haque in the team is because he is known to play with a stable, calm mindset as he exhibited in the test matches. In my opinion, at the current situation of the Bangladesh team, he is exactly the type of batsman we needed at number three. With the team tottering at 16-3 Mushfiq and Mominul were seen to rotate the strike and play a few dot balls. But the pressure of the increasing required run rate seemed to take its toll, and within the space of 1.2 overs they were both back in the hut along with Shabbir Rahman.
In this match Bangladesh failed in all three departments of the game. As passionate supporters of the team, it hurts to see them lose and lose badly. But in the future we want things to change around. All we can do as fans is hope that the problems in the team are addressed and that the Tigers make a comeback in the following matches with their confidence regained.