From Minnows to Giant Killers
The cricketing world always looked upon Bangladesh Cricket Team as the bunch of some very talented players with great potential but lacking confidence to perform on big stages. This was the prime reason that inspite of being a test playing nation they were still tagged as Minnows. But not anymore.
Last 10 months for Bangladesh Cricket has been a dream run in limited overs format. It started in last year November, when they thrashed Zimbabwe by 5-0. Though the cricket followers didn’t pay much attention as the series was played between two lower ranked sides.
This young Bangladesh team grabbed everybody’s eye with the way they performed in ICC World Cup 2015 in March. They were placed in the pool along with Australia, England, SriLanka & New Zealand. No one gave them a chance to go beyond the pool stage but what unfolded took everybody by surprise. After beating Afghanistan , Scotland and picking up crucial points through washed off game against Australia they were in contention for the place in last eight. Their chances of going through to the quarter finals turned into reality as they beat England in a do or die match at Adelaide. Brilliant century from Mahmudullah and fierce pace bowling from Rubel Hossain helped Bangladesh take the game by 15 runs. Their World Cup campaign finally ended against India as they lost by 109 runs. There was praise all over the media especially for the intensity with which they played each game.
Riding on successful WC campaign Bangladesh team was high on confidence. With the same belief of being capable of beating any class side they hosted Pakistan in month of May and whitewashed the ODI series 3-0. They shocked Pakistan by 79 runs in first, by seven wickets in second and by eight wickets in third.
Next was India’s turn to face the tigers. The full-fledged Indian side had no idea what they were up to and was caught napping in the very first match of the series. Facing a target of 308 runs Indian batting found it difficult to come to terms with the playing conditions and went down by 79 runs. The same followed in second ODI as India was thrashed by six wickets which not only gave Bangladesh their ten straight win but also their first ever ODI series win against their neighbor. Mustafizur Rehman , left arm pacer emerged as the revelation for Bangladesh as he took 13 wickets in the 3 match series.
Bangladesh now awaited their most stern test against the mighty South Africa. It was expected that SA would halt their series winning streak but it was not to be. Bangladesh announced their emergence to the World by taking the ODI series 2-1 and answered everyone who considered their win against Pakistan and India a fluke. South Africa started the series win two T20 wins and also won the first ODI by eight wickets. But these young Bangla boys came back strongly to take the second ODI by seven wickets. In the series decider, Bangladesh took the rain affected match by nine wickets to record their first ever ODI series win against SA. With this win Bangladesh confirmed their place in next ICC Champions Trophy and also moved to 7th spot in ODI rankings.
Bangladesh finding a new captain in Mashrafe Murtaza and with changed support staff it’s a completely transformed team. A nation which was always dependent on their spinners suddenly produced quality pace bowlers like Mustafiur Rehman, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hussain which definitely took the world by surprise. Shakib Al Hasan undoubtedly the best all-rounder always lacked support in the team. But finding quality batsman in likes of Soumya Sarkar , Nassir Hossain , sabbir Rahman the middle order looks pretty solid. One can no longer afford to take this team lightly.