Khandkar Saleque Sufi
Bangladesh after being put into bat was shaping up for a challenging 157/4 through a recovery mission ably crafted by two senior pros Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Raid on a green top grassy wicket under cloud cover.
Irish bowlers, after pushing Bengal Tigers to the edge at 9/2 and 70/4 bowled inconsistently letting experienced Tamim and reliable Riyad engineering great rescue act with an unbeaten 87 runs 5th wicket partnership.
Tamim was batting on 64 from 88 and Riyad was on 43 from 56 deliveries when heavy rain drew curtains to the match.
With more rains in the forecast for the entire week it is to be seen how much cricket is possible in the series. The wicket looked like a green grassland, the sky was overcast. Irish captain Porterfield, after winning the all – important toss, without any hesitation, elected to field.
Irish pacers Murtagh and local lad Chase aptly exploited the swinging and seaming condition. Soumya Sarkar did not have a clue in his 7 balls stay scoring 5, Sabbir Rahman looked groping in the dark for three ball duck. Bangladesh was tottering at 9/2 as early in the 4th over.
Chase struck twice in his first two overs. Mushfiqur Rahim joining with Tamim Iqbal was expected to show patience and endurance. But instead, he and Shakib looked in a hurry when patience was the key. Mushfiqur attempted an extravagant drive and Shakib, after boundaries off consecutive deliveries of Chase, chased unnecessarily a wide ball.
At 70/4 in the 15th over, Bangladesh was looking down the barrel. Tamim was shouldering the team very responsibly watched the one-way procession of his mates from the other end.
Experienced and skilled Riyad joining prolific Tamim showed how to play on such a wicket in such a situation. Their quality batting of rotating the strike and blasting loose delivery not only rescued the innings from a possible disaster but also laid a solid foundation.
Irish bowlers also failed to bowl consistently well in the right channel bowling on either side of the wicket or too wide. 15 wides in 31.1 over was way too much. Tamim looked shaping up for another great innings at 64 with 8 strikes across the fence and Raid was more enterprising on 43 with 4 across the boundaries and one over boundary.
When they were looking solid for leading the team to a defendable score, sky opened up at 157/4 in 31.1 over. On such a wicket and heavy weather, Soumya and Sabbir are unaccustomed for batting at top order.
I always felt Sabbir Rahman should not bat at three in ODI when a vastly experienced Mahmudullah having excellent proven records in the position, is available in the team. To me in the present team, in English condition Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim must bat at three and four successively.
Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman can be better utilized in the early to late middle order. Any sensible team management would not miss the discomfort and agony of Soumya and Sabbir that they demonstrated in the brief stays at the wicket on the day.
What did Mushfiqur and Shakib want? Could they blast their way out on such a responsive wicket with gay cavalier style flamboyance? Bangladesh was lucky that Irish bowlers failed to keep the momentum. Vastly experienced Kiwi bowlers won’t do and definitely will not England and Australia in the Champions trophy as well.
We hope team management would assess after postmortem. With one match out of the way with no result, Bangladesh needs winning remaining three for promotion in ICC ranking.
By the look, it appears not so easy. There must be a plan B and C in situation as it evolved yesterday. Irish bowlers were not the same as the Bangladesh batsmen played against Sussex or against Ireland Wolves. We need horses for the courses.
But anyway praise must also go to terrific Tamim and majestic Mahmudullah the way they rescued the team from a potential disaster. Rain ruined match left lots to ponder about for Bangladesh think tank. It was all Bangladesh in the ground. Sponsors, advertisers, cheering Tiger fans all belonged to Bangladesh. Bangla was being heard even through English commentary. Great going in deed.
Khondkar Saleque Sufi is an eminent Research Fellow of Monash University, Australia, He was the former Advisor at Ministry of Mines & Petroleum of Republic of Afghanistan and Deputy General Manager of Bakhrabad Gas Systems Ltd.