Viewing the other side of the moon

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Viewing the other side of the moonSaleque Sufi

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Semi Final: Bangladesh Vs India played at Edgbaston Birmingham on 15 June 2017 India 265/1 in 40.1 Overs (Rohit Sharma 123*, Virat Kohli 96*, Mashrafe 1/29) beat Bangladesh 264/7 (Tamim Iqbal 79, Mushfiqur Rahim 61, Mashrafe 30, KM Jadhav 2/22, JJ Bumrah 2/39, B Kumar 2/53) by 9 wickets. Player of the Match: RG Sharma (India)

All dreams do not come true. Dreamers do not necessarily need much to dream. But turning dream into reality need dream merchants performing consistently in the elite environment.

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The dream journey of team tigers in ICC Champions trophy 2017 had to come to an end somewhere. As it happened the best team of the tournament India crushed Bangladesh to a massive 9 wickets defeat in the semifinal at Edgbaston Birmingham.

Bangladesh put into bat could manage a well below par score of 264/7. India batsmen firing all cylinders against friendly fire of Bangladeshi bowlers overhauled the target losing only one wicket.

India – Pakistan final in Oval on Sunday will be a fitting contest of two very strong bowling units. It is true that dreams of Tiger fans dashed into despair. But Bangladesh reaching the semifinal also did wonderfully well in the tournament from where teams like Australia and South Africa made early exit.

Losing two matches against India (once in the practice match and the semifinal) and once against Pakistan in the practice gives ample opportunity to Bangladesh for self-assessment. Many questions would have remained unanswered if Bangladesh would advance further.

No genuine knowledgeable cricket admirer would ever question the quality of the present Indian team. India for the last several years possesses a very strong batting line up and world class spinners. Some world class pace bowlers added to this team has made it potential team for winning global events.

Yet they can be beaten if any team could bat like the way Sri Lankans batted. But unfortunately that situation does not happen every day. Bangladesh did have quality and talent but they lack mental toughness.

Batting first Bangladesh could not exploit the initiative they had from an excellent 113 runs third wicket partnership between terrific Tamim and majestic Mushfiqur. Kohli introducing occasional bowler Jadhav unleashed a master stroke when his front line bowlers were not making much of a head way. Jadhav struck gold removing two well set batsmen at crunch time.

Bangladesh endeavor was put paid when inform Shakib was also cleaned up by Jadeja. A flowery Bangladesh innings got stuck in quick sand. Mahmudullah and Mashrafe ploughed in the sand for a while. But that was too little too late.

Either Tamim or Mushfiqur should have stayed till the end for posting a sort of challenging score that might be around 320-330. A score of 264 against a very strong Indian batting with under performing bowling strength was well below par.

Tamim (79) and Mushfiqur (61) could do the team much better if they could restrain for a while. Both lost their wickets trying ambitious strokes. Tamim tried to cut a ball too close to his body. Mushfiqur drove a rank long hop. How many times Bangladeshi batsmen have thrown towels from a seemingly impregnable position.

The team was already under tremendous pressure when Mahmudullah and Mosaddek came to bat around 35th over with score of 179. Indian bowlers had their tails up. In a crunch match against quality opposition, new batsmen cannot start striking the ball straightaway.

Do not understand what kind of mentoring head coach and batting coach do. Set Bangladeshi batsmen get out almost regularly in pairs. Bangladesh does not have a hard hitting late order batsman like Dhoni, Pollard or Afridi brand. So batsmen already set must not panic and throw away their wickets.

Mahmudullah should have batted at number three in this match especially after Soumya left too early in the very first over. Sabbir does not have skills and temperament for number three position against quality attack. Soumya and Sabbir were weaker links in Bangladesh batting line up.

Playing even Mehedi Miraz in place of Sabbir for the match could be more useful. Mahmudullah and Mashrafe did their best in the very tight situation. Through their efforts Bangladesh could reach 264/7. India has two excellent bowlers now for English condition Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Especially Bumrah at death overs is excellent.

Two world class spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in the middle overs are also difficult customers. Bangladesh was thrown out of the match when Jadhav squeezed out Tamim and Mushfiqur and Jadeja removed Shakib.

265 was never a defendable target. Still Bangladesh could have bowled and field well to make a match of it. But other than Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (1/29 in 8 overs) no other bowler could pitch their deliveries at the right channel.

Bowling figures looked quite pathetic – Mustafizur Rahman (0/ 53 in 6 overs), Taskin Ahmed (0/49 in 7 overs), Rubel Hossain (0/46 in 6 overs) and Shakib Al Hasan (0/54 in 9 overs). India cruised to massive win scoring 265/1 in 40.1 overs.

Rohit Sharma scored a strokeful unbeaten 123 in 129 deliveries with 15 fours and a six. Virat Kohli also remained unbeaten on 96 scored in 78 deliveries. It was a real cake walk for India.

This is the fourth time India reached in the semifinal of the Champions Trophy, twice they played in the semifinal also. They are the reigning champions. Losing to such a team was not unexpected for Bangladesh.

But the manner of defeat does not go with encouraging recent Bangladesh performance. India outwitted, outclassed Bangladesh in all department of the game. Bangladesh losing twice to India miserably this time and losing once to other finalist Pakistan raises few questions.

Although these are reality checks of Bangladesh cricket but team management must answer why Imrul Kayes could not play when Soumya Sarkar repeatedly failed? Why Sabbir  Rahman was continued at number three when Mahmudullah was much better option. Not playing Mahmudullah at three was a crime especially after his brilliant batting against New Zealand.

Bangladesh regularly failed utilizing the last power play. Bangladesh desperately missed Nasir Hossain. No one would say Bangladesh would have won the tournament or beat India if these were done. But these were the loopholes in the team. All Bangladeshi bowlers must answer why they failed to match the commitment and application of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza in the match?

We must acknowledge that two best performing teams Pakistan and India have advanced to the final. Pakistan played exceedingly well against England in the semifinal and against South Africa, Sri Lanka in the group stage. It was almost written off after its disastrous opening match against Pakistan. But it grew with the tournament. Pakistan has vastly improved fielding and bowling. It won’t be cake walk for even India beating Pakistan in the final if Pakistan can bat reasonably well. Wonder how Pakistan produces world class pace bowlers regularly when they do not play international cricket at all in Pakistan!

In summary we must appreciate the way Bangladesh conducted itself over the entire tournament. True there has been ups and downs. Playing for the first time in the semifinal of a global tournament is no mean achievement.

Bangladesh has to do a lot between now and 2019 to even repeat the present performance in ICC World Cup 2019. They must review few areas – team selections, batting order, bowling unit, mentoring of players, and death over batting and bowling and mental toughness.

With very limited numbers of quality players compared to India, Australia, England and others there must not be victimizations of particular player or players. Reaching number 6 position in the raking was great but staying there would be challenging.

A very enterprising Pakistan may pip Bangladesh to the post soon. West Indies is also advancing. Bangladesh has seen both sides of the moon in its English safari this time. Some crushing defeats some spectacular victories.