Cardiff once again proved to be a special venue for Bangladesh. It was at this venue where they beat Australia for the first and the only time in their history back in 2005. The win was huge for the team which was known as minnows back then. Twelve years later, Bangladesh returns to the same venue and produce another superlative win which would be ranked as high as the sole win over Australia in terms of significance.
Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad put together 224 runs between them, the highest by any Bangladeshi pair, to take their team to a five-wicket win over New Zealand. The win not only was historic but also kept their bid for a semi-final spot alive.
The win didn’t come by fluke. Bangladesh showed all round capability. They were impressive with the ball and later sailed home with the help of their batting antics. Kane Williamson and Co. were completely sidelined and stood with a dumbfounded look on their face. This performance surely will go down in the cricketing folklore of the country as one of their greatest ODI showings.
1. NZ Fail In The Final 10 Overs:
New Zealand managed just 62 runs from the last ten overs. This proved as the single biggest reason behind their loss. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor worked hard early on and added 83 for the 3rd wicket to put New Zealand in a sort of comfortable position. The duo batted together for close to 17 overs before Williamson departed just after completing his fifty. Taylor took command for some time and along with Neil Broom propelled the team total past 200 runs mark. However, things began going downhill quickly once Taylor was removed in the 39th over. The middle order had the perfect opportunity to launch themselves but they turned out to be a total failure one more time.
2. Mosaddek Hossain – The Surprise Package:
Bringing an orthodox off-spinner in the last ten overs might seem suicidal. But, the move worked wonders for Mashrafe Mortaza. Mosaddek Hossain was introduced in the 43rd over and did the maximum damage to the opposition by claiming 3/13 in 3 overs. He effectively got rid of the NZ middle order with the wickets of Neil Broom, Corey Anderson and James Neesham. This was a crucial bowling spell and in some way gave a huge upper hand to Bangladesh.
3. Southee Scare:
Southee’s opening spell was unplayable for the Bangladeshis. And, if we keep the intensity of that spell in mind, Bangladesh, hypothetically, would not have gone past the 100 runs mark. The veteran swing bowlers kicked off the proceedings three wickets in his first three over starting with the biggest wicket in the Bangladeshi line-up – Tamim Iqbal – off the second delivery in the opening over. Coming back in the 3rd over he got rid of Sabbir Rahman and an over later removed Soumya Sarkar to reduce the chasing side to a mere 12/3.
4. Monumental Knock From Shakib
Shakib Al Hasan has played many priceless knocks for Bangladesh in his long career. But, if there would be one knock his fans back home would term as monumental once he retires, it would the innings he played last night. He dragged his team out of a dark murky pit, where a loss looked like a major possibility and enabled them to taste a glorious win. Shakib Al Hasan walked in when the team was three down at 12 runs and only left the crease when the side was at the doorsteps of victory. In all, his effort got him 114 runs from 115 deliveries, a Man of the Match award and a much more enhanced reputation among his fans.
5. Mahmudullah’s Finest:
When Mahmudullah rocked the 2015 World Cup stage with back to back centuries in Australia, most thought the young man has finally reached his peak. However, since then, he managed no triple figure mark despite Bangladesh re-writing their reputation in world cricket with major wins over top opponents. His contributions were largely behind the scenes sort of work and rarely recognised. However, he marked a revival of his fortunes and again reminded his countrymen of his worth by producing the finest knock of his career.
Coming out to bat with the top order blown away, the right-hander stood firmly with Shakib and scripted a match-winning stand and walked back to the pavilion unbeaten at 102 off 107 balls with the job perfectly done. His last century, ironically, came against the same opposition in the quarterfinal stage at Hamilton but ended in a loss for his team. He contributed a similar knock, but in a match winning cause against England a few days before the NZ game in that tournament. But, last night’s efforts simply overshadows those two knocks by a huge margin.