The win against Pakistan spoke loudly in the cricketing globe about the capacity of this cricket-frenzy nation that helped Bangladesh gain Test status
Exactly 21 years ago on this day, Bangladesh stunned the whole cricketing world with a shocking win against tournament favorite Pakistan in 1999 World Cup. Bangladesh won many matches in the years to follow but that win is still regarded as one of the best due to the strength of the opponents and as it spoke loudly in the cricketing globe about the capacity of this cricket-frenzy nation that helped the country gain Test status.
It was Tigers’ first ever World Cup campaign and they finished the tournament with two wins in group stages. The win against Scotland was expected considering the cricketing strength between the two teams back then, but the win against Pakistan created one of the fairy tales in the cricketing folklore.
Dhaka Tribune Sports has decided to recall that sweet memory and picked five points regarding the win.
Expectation was high, Tension mount on and off the field
The whole nation was following Bangladesh in their first ever World Cup campaign as cricket was rising particularly after winning the ICC Trophy in 1997. The expectation was less, perhaps win against Scotland was the only expectation back then. But for the players, playing in a World Cup stage against mighty teams was definitely something special. Bangladesh were facing some off field issues as tension between coach Gordon Greenidge and management was mounting. Before the Pakistan match, Greenidge even left the dressing room as it was learnt that he was sacked. So, literally Bangladesh played without a coach in that game against Pakistan.
Gutsy batting by top order against one of the best bowling attack
Pakistan won the toss and elected to field on a seaming condition at Northampton. With one of the best fast bowling line-ups in the world, comprising Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhter and Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan bowlers were favorite to tame Bangladesh early on a favorable condition. But Bangladesh top order batsmen batted with guts and gave a good start for Tigers. Against the fearsome pace quartet the opening stand between Shahriar Hossain Biddut (39) and Mehrab Hossian Opi (nine) batted for 15.2 overs putting 69 on the board. Number three Akram Khan, who was promoted and was on verge of being dropped from the playing eleven due to a poor World Cup till then, batted with confidence and scored 42, the highest of the match. Pakistani bowlers did not help their cause giving away 40 extras including 28 wides. At one stage Bangladesh were 120 for 2 after 29 overs and were set for a big score but spin wizard Saqlain Mushtaq's 5/35 restricted the total to 223/9.
Brilliant bowling, fielding effort and Khaled Mahmud heroics
After setting a moderate target of 224 in 49 overs, it was Bangladesh bowlers who bowled exceptionally well throughout the innings and created constant pressure in Pakistan batting line-up by checking runs and picking wickets in crucial time. The fielding effort was brilliant as well. Khaled Mahmud Shujon was superb with the ball with his medium pace as the right-hander took three wicket in 10 overs conceding just 31 runs. He also added 27 valuable runs while batting and was later adjudged man of the match. Pakistan were all out for just 161 and when Saqlain was run out as the last wicket, hundreds of fans rushed towards the pitch with joy and ecstacy. Back home, the whole Bangladesh was erupted with joy as it was another historic moment for the fans after winning the 1997 ICC trophy.
Statement to the world and for Test status
Although the win against Pakistan was termed as an upset, but it was a certain message to the cricket World that rookie Bangladesh has entered in the cricketing world and can become a competitive side in coming years. As a consequence Bangladesh got Test status in 2000 and it was believed that Bangladesh’s performance in World Cup, particularity their stunning win against Pakistan made a good impact on gaining status in the longest format of the game.
Inspiration for future generation
After winning ICC trophy, such stunning win against Pakistan in 1999 inspired millions of kids and young souls in Bangladesh to take bat and ball in their hands and sow the seed of a dream of becoming cricketers in near future. That changed the sporting landscape of the country and firmly put cricket as the premier game of the nation. Henceforth the meteoric rise of cricket skyrocketed on and off the field here.