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Straight Bat: The day Bangladesh won, broke the West Indies jinx

  • Published at 10:20 am June 18th, 2019
Bangladesh's Shakib al Hasan celebrates reaching his ton during their World Cup match against the West Indies in Taunton Monday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik from Taunton

WI bowling had no answer to that

It was when Soumya Sarkar hit a six to cross 50 runs -- of the partnership with Tamim Iqbal -- that matters were settled. Soumya went the next ball but that didn’t matter. Tamim went for 48 and held it together with Shakib long enough to settle him down. 

Mushfiqur Rahim laid an egg, but Liton Das came to play and it turned into a party. The West Indies (WI) could only chase down 322 in 41 overs once.

Now Bangladesh has done it in their own fashion -- playing smart but fearless cricket.

BD also broke a jinx. It had never beaten WI in a World Cup tie before. What can you do when the “dargah baba” is on your side? A magical match for BD -- where it dominated like champs at a level that really mattered.

Mashrafe -- in the post-match session -- said the turning point was when the Fizz took 2 wickets in an over. That wasn’t the only one. Shakib turning out to be the highest run-getter of the tournament was another. The 190 runs partnership with Liton Das was too. 

Nobody expected the WI total to be chased down -- judging by online comments -- but BD just kept going. It began with a high run rate -- 7+ -- which only got higher and never fell below 6.

WI bowling had no answer to that. After 200 runs were breached, BD made mincemeat of the bowling and Liton’s three sixes in a row kind of exemplified that. The match was over and WI was mortally injured -- if not officially dead.  

Also Read- Straight Bat: Has UN formally granted war status to the Indo-Pak match?

Shai Hope was like a rock around whom WI played but he went in the end (96) before completing his century. A Facebook remark that if Shakib crossed his total, BD was certain to win proved prophetic, though by then it was obvious. 

In the end, the Caribbean short balls were not enough. That only short balls don’t win matches became painfully clear to WI only as the win fled away.

It dropped catches including that of Shakib early on, dropped others, fielded like the grounds were soaped and their hands buttered.

Luck was also not on their side; the edges, mis-timed hits, and everything else went against them. Chris Gayle got a duck, and his slow bowling greatly contributed to BD’s win. Something worse than a terrible day at the office.  

We would like to wish West Indies well. All is not lost as they can play like the royalty they are in the matches to come. But BD is looking good. Its win was against a middling team like the WI but expectations have risen. 

Experts are praising them, but they shouldn’t be taken seriously because they are paid to do so. To beat the other teams, including India, Australia, and even Pakistan, BD have to find better bowling  than that which let WI reach 322.

Afsan Chowdhury is a journalist and researcher.

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