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When Bangladesh were without the Best 5

  • Published at 10:39 pm September 26th, 2018
Bangladesh's Rubel Hossain celebrates dismissing Pakistan's Shoaib Malik in their Asia Cup Super Four match in Abu Dhabi Wednesday AFP

The incident happened in the 21st over of the Pakistan chase when Mashrafe bin Mortaza walked off the field after taking a spectacular catch to dismiss Shoaib Malik in the first ball, and get Bangladesh into a fiery mood

Soumya squanders another chance

The chance was a huge one for Soumya Sarkar. Having been axed from the ODI fold in October 2017, the left-handed opener had come back to the Bangladesh team literally riding on no performance, but through experience and fate. The Tigers’ loss of Tamim Iqbal to injury right at the start of the tournament and the backup openers failing to deliver had Soumya join the team in the UAE along with Imrul Kayes. While Imrul emerged as a surprise by contributing on a winning cause as a middle-order batsman, Soumya got the opportunity to bat in place of Nazmul Hossain Shanto in the crucial game against Pakistan Wednesday. But the 25-year old failed to step up to the occasion as he survived just four balls, got dismissed for a duck to trigger a top-order collapse for Bangladesh. Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun once again came to Bangladesh’s rescue, this time with a 144-run stand for the fourth wicket. It was the fifth innings in a row Soumya got dismissed for a single figure, and twice in the last three matches for a duck.

Mushfiq-Mithun to the rescue again

Mushfiq and Mithun came to Bangladesh’s rescue for the second time in the tournament following a disastrous start with the bat. The openers had failed in the previous four matches in the tournament and against Pakistan had gone with a change at the top, bringing in Soumya in place of Shanto. But that didn’t work as the side first lost Soumya with just five runs on the board and had 12 runs when they lost two more wickets. Mushfiq was joined by Mithun in the fifth over following the dismissal of Liton Das and from here, the two batsmen added 144 for the fourth wicket to recover Bangladesh’s innings after the Tigers opted to bat first. Mithun perished for a 84-ball 60 against Hasan Ali leaving Bangladesh on 156 for the loss of four wickets in 33.4 overs. Mushfiq remained, did the hard work only to walk off with sorrow after being dismissed for 99 and missing the opportunity to register his seventh ODI century. Earlier in the tournament, Mushfiq and Mithun had stepped up to save Bangladesh in their first game in the tournament, against Sri Lanka, and inspired the Tigers to a 137-run victory.

Moment when there were no Big 5

A common point of discussion in the Bangladesh cricketing arena is how the team will perform when there will be none of the five senior players around. Many are scared of the fact while others hope that “they” in the shape of Mashrafe bin Mortaza, Shakib al Hasan, Tamim, Mushfiq and Mahmudullah will leave enough trail for the juniors to follow. Well, for the first time in almost an era Bangladesh had none of the leading characters in the field. The incident happened in the 21st over of the Pakistan chase when Mashrafe walked off the field after taking a spectacular catch to dismiss Shoaib Malik in the first ball, and get Bangladesh into a fiery mood. Mushfiq left the field after struggling as a wicket-keeper while Mahmudullah was also off soon after. Shakib was out due to injury and was on his way to Dhaka when the game was on while Tamim was already missing from the team. For the remainder of the over, the young Bangladesh cricketers were by themselves.

The flying Mashman

Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe’s indomitable spirit works as a force to the team. His actions and words ahead or in between games work as a tonic. The Tigers were slightly down when Pakistan were chasing 240. Bangladesh made a flying start defending the chase but Malik and Imam Ul Haq were grafting to spoil the early efforts. In the first ball of the 21 st over, Rubel Hossain delivered the ball full on middle, which Malik attempted to chip over midwicket. But Mashrafe the fielder dived like a Superman and took a spectacular catch to remove the batsman. Malik for a few moments stood absolutely gobsmacked as the Bangladesh players ran into wild celebration. They knew the tables had turned and Mashrafe’s jaw dropping effort, despite his limitation owing to a history of injuries, had boosted the team to sky high levels. Bangladesh did not have to look back from that point onwards, rather they looked sharper and stronger in every delivery from thereon.

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