NEW DELHI: It was way back in the 2012, when Bangladesh were at the cusp of history against Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nasir Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan were part of that team who lost the match by two runs.
Three years on, the experienced quartet of Tamim, Mushfiqur, Nasir and Shakib finally became part of a historic moment in Bangladesh cricket when the team sealed their first ODI series win over India at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on Sunday, after beating the visitors by six wickets (D/L Method) in the second ODI.
The weakest of the four Test-playing Asian teams, Bangladesh had been threatening to breakfree since their quarterfinal exit at the hands of India in the ICC Cricket World Cup led by a young brigade of fast bowlers. The Tigers have finally broken the proverbial glass ceiling and by no means can the phrase ‘Asian giants’ in cricket not include Bangladesh anymore.
Mustafizur Rahman is the catalyst who has driven Bangladesh to this historic moment and after his 5 for 50 in his ODI debut in the series opener, the 19-year-old’s 6 for 43 in the second ODI on Sunday floored India and eventually paved way for a series victory, that comes after the team blanked Pakistan 3-0 just over a month back.
India were bundled out for 200 in 45 overs, despite opting to bat first, courtesy Mustafizur’s terrific spell and Bangladesh came out all guns blazing in the chase to leave India gobsmacked. Tamim and Saoumya Sarkar provided a speedy start and even though Tamim departed edging a wide delivery towards slips for 13, young wicketkeeper-batsman Litton Das (36) and opener Soumya Sarkar (34) carried forward the momentum taking 52 runs in just 10.2 overs.
The Indian bowlers had no answer to the Bangladesh counter-attack and every shot to the boundary sent the Mirpur crowd in to delirium and their team closer to the target. Ravichandran Ashwin came in first change and bowled his quota of 10 overs at one go, giving away just 32 runs and taking the wicket of Sarkar, but he failed to find any kind of support from other bowlers.
In contrast, Bangladesh bowlers complemented each other well that helped them reduce the strong Indian batting line-up to a below par total. Mustafizur continued his good form from the 1st ODI, bowling with conviction in his first spell and provided the perfect start for his team by removing Rohit Sharma off the second ball of the match. Sharma went after a length ball, slicing it to point fielder Sabbir Rahman.
The bowler then came back at the start of the batting Powerplay for his second spell and was even more potent. He sent back Suresh Raina for 34 and then claimed two wickets in two balls, including the wicket of a well set MS Dhoni (47). He added two more to become the only player in the history of the game to claim 11 wickets in his first two ODIs.
Part-time offspinner Nasir Hossain bowled a tidy spell of 10-0-33-2, including the big wickets of Shikhar Dhawan (53) and Virat Kohli (23) and despite Dhoni’s composed innings, India went on to lose their last six wicket for just 37 runs. Due to a lengthy rain interruption, Bangladesh got a revised target of 200 in 47 overs and they cantered home to seal the series.
Mushfiqur Rahim took charge of the chase after the fall of Litton, and in company of Shakib Al Hasan (51*), got together for a 56-run stand in just 9.5 overs before a smart piece of fielding by Dhoni led to Mushfiqur’s dismissal for 31. The formalities were completed by Shakib and Sabbir as Bangladesh romped home with 54 balls remaining and also booked a place in the 2017 Champions Trophy by virtue of finishing as one of the top eight teams in the ICC ODI rankings.