Saleque Sufi, Brisbane, Australia
Blue tsunami swept away the green & red at the Oval Cricket ground yesterday. Shell shocked Tiger admirers all over the world witnessed the abject surrender of Bangladesh cricket team to mighty Indians. Bangladesh was beaten, bruised and battered by rampaging Indians in a ridiculously one sided contest.
240 runs margin of defeat in an ODI match rarely happens whether it is a bilateral series, international tournament or even a practice match between two ICC full member countries. Moreover, considering the recent forms and records of two teams, even ardent followers of Indian team would not have imagined this.
India was put into bat on a green top seaming wicket set up a huge score of 324/7 in allotted overs. Bangladesh, in reply, was bundled out for 84 runs. Only a couple of days before the same team minus Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza scored almost 350 against a strong Pakistan bowling attack.
India is a formidable team. They are also holders of ICC Champions trophy. Bangladesh, despite of its recent success in this format of the game, was not favorite in the contest. But the manner in which the match was lost, the team chemistry, body language of the players raised many questions.
A media report stated of mid night parties and gay cavalier approach of the team leading to the match. Report also appears of replacing team manager Khaled Mahmood by Akram Khan. The scar created from such a diabolic performance only two days before the very important first match of the tournament would not be easy to digest.
Bangladesh’s decision to rest inform Tamim and inspirational captain Mashrafe created serious questions. Teams generally give every possible opportunity of match practice to inform key players before the tournament.
Moreover, it was a serious mistake not to play Tamim Iqbal in the match against tournament favorite and on the ground where Bangladesh would play against host England.
Why Bangladesh sent tried and tested quality all-rounder Nasir Hossain back home? Even in his current form, Nasir can walk into the team ahead of Sanjamul and few others. Why captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was not given a feel of the ground. Bangladesh will play against England and Australia there.
Such an important match only two days before the first match should not have been taken lightly for experiment, Opting for bowling after winning the toss on a green top wicket was ok. Two pacers Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman struck early blows removing Rohit Sharma and Ajimkya Rahane.
But Bangladesh failed to exploit the advantage. Why not experienced top all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan brought him into the attack early? Why Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik were allowed to settle with friendly fire.
Taskin Ahmed was bowling short and hammered all around the park. Mustafiz and Rubel could be given few additional overs to cause further damage. Karthik, Dhawan and Pandey toyed with listless Bangladesh attack plundering 324/7. Though Sanjamul got two of the seven wickets but 74 runs in 9 overs were too many.
Shakib bowled only 3 overs. Why? Other than Rubel Hossain, no Bangladeshi bowler looked impressive at all. Pandya scored an unbeaten 80 in 64 deliveries carrying his fine IPL form to England. Karthik retired after scoring well-made 94. Dhawan earlier laid the foundation with a well compiled 60 of 67 deliveries.
Indian dominance with the bat was so prominent that Kohli, Yuvaraj and Dhoni could warm the dugout. True conditions changed a bit when Bangladesh came to bat. Kumar and Yadav fancied such situation. They bowled brilliantly at pace and in the right channel. Listless Bangladesh batsmen had no clue. Only Soumya Sarkar could consider himself a bit unlucky given out caught behind.
Perhaps he missed it. Sabbir perished in no time. His suspect foot work against genuine pace on green top wicket exposes his vulnerability while batting in top order. Imrul Kayes and Shakib Al Hasan gifted their wickets playing unnecessary attacking strokes. Mahmudullah also nicked behind. Mushfiqur looked safe for a while but he too fell trying to attack.
Yadav and Kumar were breathing fire. Suddenly Bangladesh was reduced to 22/6 in 8th over. It was an atrocious batting. Even women’s team of few countries would bat better than what Bangladesh did on the day. Fortunately, two rookies Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Sanjamul Islam could halt the slide for a while with a 30 runs 8th wicket partnership. otherwise Bangladesh could be bundled out below 50.
Bangladesh had to digest the ignominy of getting crushed by 240 runs. They survived only 23.5 overs. Kumar took 3/13 and Yadav 3/16. With both doing the damage Sami and Pandya had little left for them to grab.
It will be unwise not mentioning about the pace bowling strength of India. Kumar, Yadav, Sami, Pandey would cause all opponents to struggle. With Ashwin and Jadeja in the team India possibly has the best bowling attack in the tournament. World knows the strength and depth of Indian batting. The defending champions looked in a great shape in two matches they played.
No one expected Bangladesh to win. But none also would have believed that Bangladesh will be decimated in such a pathetic manner. Something is definitely not right with the team. No excuse would be enough for such a pathetic performance. Even if Bangladesh bounce back in the tournament the match against India would continue to haunt many for a while.
I cannot agree more with Gazi Ashraf Lipu that Bangladesh must start considering a replacement of Shakib Al Hasan. Only reputation cannot be enough to carry some one forever. He is just looking awful.