Wednesday, March 22

All-round Bangladesh stun Pakistan



It is a special treat, especially for Tigers’ supporters when Bangladesh cricket team is firing on all cylinders, and in the process, stamping their dominance on the cricket field.

After ending their 16-year jinx by beating Pakistan in the first game of the three-match series, Bangladesh romped to another resounding victory in the second match by seven wickets and 71 balls in the bag at Mirpur Stadium yesterday.

Bangladesh did not just win the matches, they blew away their opponent with their remarkable all-round performance, in batting, bowling and fielding.

Playing at home after a successful world cup campaign down under, Tigers adapted incredibly well to the pace and bounce of Mirpur’s wicket when they began batting in the first ODI of the current series.

Tamim Iqbal took on the Pakistani bowlers from ball one and opened his arms with a wide array of strokes – pulls, flicks and his trade-mark cover drives to the delight of the home crowd at Mirpur. He silenced his critics with a brilliant hundred as he scored 132 runs from 135 balls (fifteen 4s, three 6s) and laid the platform for Bangladesh’s highest ODI total in history.

His partnership of 178 runs with Mushfiqur Rahim was the cornerstone of the winning total, as they milked Pakistani bowling during the middle overs with nonchalant ease. Mushfiqur began sensibly, always keeping the scoreboard ticking with singles and twos. When the power-play overs began, he shifted gears and upped the ante with delectable lofted drives and slog-sweeps. He scored 106 runs from only 77 balls, and struck thirteen fours and two towering sixes in his blistering innings.

After the Tamim-Mushfiq show, Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman gave the icing on the cake with quick-fire cameos at the death-overs of the match. The script for the batting performance couldn’t have been better as all the batters played according to the need of the situation and applied themselves beautifully.

Bangladesh’s batting performance in the second ODI against Pakistan was probably one of their most dominant successful chases in history, as they made a mockery of their opponent’s descent total of 239 runs with ruthless efficiency.

The target of 240 runs seemed pointless when Tamim began belting Pakistani bowlers all around the park at Mirpur. He continued his terrific form with consecutive centuries, and denied Pakistan any chance of coming back in the match. He was unbeaten on 116 runs, and was part of a match-winning partnership of 118 runs with Mushfiqur Rahim.

Mushfiq played second fiddle to Tamim, and contributed to Tiger’s series clinching win with 65 runs from 70 balls. Both of them made batting look ridiculously easy as they spanked boundaries almost at will.

Bangladesh bowlers didn’t let the batters eclipse them with their feats, and proved their potency as a bowling unit once again. During the first ODI against Pakistan, they showed how well they can bowl as a unit, as all of them kept up the pressure on opposing batters with consistently disciplined bowling.

The main bowlers, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny and Shakib Al Hasan picked up wickets and conceded less than 6 runs in their overs in the match. They were able to make regular breakthroughs, and did not buckle under pressure during the key moments of the match.

When Pakistan tried desperately to shift gears, Taskin Ahmed responded with timely wickets and threw a spanner in their works. He ended up with 3/42 in eight overs. Arafat Sunny gave the first breakthrough and returned during the middle overs to wreck Pakistan’s batting order. He took three wickets in ten overs and gave away only 47 runs.

The second match of the series saw the best of Bangladesh bowling as Pakistan were totally flummoxed by the combination of pace and spin at Mirpur stadium. Pakistan’s hopes for a winning total were dashed early as Shakib, Rubel, Arafat and Nasir left them reeling at 77 for 5.

Bowlers were relentless in their restrictive line and length and didn’t let the Pakistani batters break the shackles throughout the match. Shakib picked up two wickets in his quota of ten overs, and was ably supported by Arafat’s wily spin and Rubel’s withering pace.

Bangladesh bowlers executed their plan extremely well, and were rarely seen bowling on both sides of the wicket. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza was a happy man as all of his bowlers bowled to the field and demonstrated their progress from a memorable world cup campaign at Australia and New Zealand.