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The best of Bangladesh cricket in 2016

  • Published at 06:46 pm December 26th, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:12 pm December 26th, 2016
The best of Bangladesh cricket in 2016

Arguably, the greatest year in the history of Bangladesh Cricket has been 2016 and it has brought us its unique set of challenges and obstacles to climb to further cover ourselves with glory and climb up the rankings in the cricketing world. With the New Zealand tour underway, let’s take a look at some of the best moments we’ve had in this year so far.

The second ODI win against England

In a must win match to save the series, having seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the previous match, Bangladesh saw their captain courageously step into the spotlight and come up with one of his best all-round displays with both bat and ball to give the Tigers a much-needed win.

This match also saw one of the best atmospheres at the Sher-E-Bangla with a plethora of Mexican waves and the crowd cheering the home team on during just about every delivery.

The Asia Cup T20 win against Pakistan

This was a must win game for Bangladesh, having previously won their matches against UAE and Sri Lanka to reach the final of the Asia Cup.

The contest was riveting throughout, with Bangladesh putting Pakistan on to bat first on a green top and taking the early advantage with quick wickets through excellent fast bowling by Taskin and Al Amin.

But Pakistan countered to reach 129 through an unbeaten Sarfaraz Ahmed half century, from a dire position of 28-4 after 8.2 overs.

In reply, Bangladesh was cautious but had wickets in hand at 82-2 after 13 overs needing 48 from 42 deliveries. But from there, they stumbled to 95-4 after 16 overs needing 35 from 24 deliveries and the game became much tighter.

Enter Mahmudullah, who, along with Shakib and then Mashrafe, took the home team over the line with five deliveries to spare and celebrations in the country that were reminiscent to that of the 99 World Cup win over Pakistan.

Mehedi Hasan Miraz

Let me give you some numbers. Tests played two, innings four, deliveries bowled 656, wickets taken 19 at an average of 15.63, and a strike rate of 34.5 with three five wicket hauls, one 10 wicket haul, and a best bowling innings of 6/77.

Numbers aside, the 19 year old had already been in the eyes of the selectors for national team selection since his excellent all-round display at the under-19 World Cup. But the manner in which he seamlessly integrated into the Test team to become player of the Test series against England was something truly stunning and a master-plan by the selectors and team management working to perfection.

Not only did Bangladesh show they could compete in Tests, but they showed the mettle required to come back from situations where the game looked out of their reach

The decision to not use him in the shorter formats against England was a deliberate one as he gets the most amount of turn among our battery of off spinners, and Miraz managed to constantly trouble the English batsmen with his nagging line and length and subtle variations. Although he failed to perform with the bat, his batting pedigree cannot be denied and it will only be a matter of time before he clicks with the bat.

All in all, Bangladesh cricket has its newest sensation in Miraz and a much more lethal bowling attack.

Bangladesh’s performance in the Asia Cup

The start may not have been good when Bangladesh lost their opening match against India where some fans had even wanted Shakib Al Hasan dropped from the side for dropping Rohit Sharma’s crucial and potentially game changing catch.

But they rallied on in bowler friendly pitches to win against Sri Lanka, UAE, and Pakistan to reach the finals of the Asia Cup for the second time in their history.

Even though the Tigers failed to win in the final against a much classier India, they certainly punched above their weight, in a format where they were ranked 11th at the start of the tournament with Mahmudullah being established as a finisher, Sabbir further showing his calibre with the bat in the shortest format, and Bangladesh’s fast bowling ranks consisting of Taskin, Al Amin, Mustafiz, and Mashrafe doing the bulk of the wicket taking and ushering in a new era for Bangladeshi bowling where spinners were traditionally the ones relied on for wicket taking and stemming the flow of runs.

The second Test win against England

This was nothing short of miraculous. So much so, that the people in Mirpur and close by in Dhaka did not manage to pack the Sher-E-Bangla to the rafters to witness this historic Test win.

Regardless of how well Bangladesh batted, there was always the underlying question mark of whether they could take 20 wickets with the ball.

And even though they managed to do that in Chittagong, with some superb bowling from Shakib and Miraz, the batsmen failed to hold their nerve to chase down the target.

The second Test would also be played on a spin-friendly track with the curator Gamini Silva being told to prepare a pitch that could finish the Test in three days. Despite winning the toss and batting first, Bangladesh managed only 220 runs, collapsing from 171-1.

In reply, England would lose wickets at regular intervals to score 244 runs taking a vital lead of 22 runs. In Bangladesh’s second innings, Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal started well with a 65-run partnership.

Things looked good for the Tigers at 152-2, but from there they also started to lose wickets regularly and eventually finished at 296.

With a target set of 273, England started off all guns blazing, reaching 100 in 23 overs.

Enter Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Shakib Al Hasan; and they took all 10 wickets in one session to wrap up the English Lions’ innings at 164 and win the match by 108 runs.

Not only did Bangladesh show they could compete in Tests, but they showed the mettle required to come back from situations where the game looked out of their reach, quite the opposite of what they had done against India in the T20 world cup, against England in the 1st ODI in Mirpur, and then again against England in the previously mentioned first Test in Chittagong.

The year is still not over, and this New Zealand series has a chance to make this year -- one which has seen inexplicable losses and unexpected wins -- end on a high note and a memorable one, even though it might not have lived up to the lofty standards of 2016.

Shahnoor Rabbani is a strategic planner at 7TEEN, radio show host and cricket commentator at radio Shadhin 92.4 FM.

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