Team Tigers unleashed and steam rolled clueless Zimbabweans in the inaugural match of the Rocket tri-nation series at SBNCS by a huge margin of 8 wickets. It was an expected cake walk for Bangladesh in consideration of ICC rating and ranking.
But the manner in which Mashrafe squad played despite of Head Coach Hathurusingha resigned unnoticed following disastrous South Africa tour gave a message to whom it matters.
The entire team appeared relived and all players played stress free cricket. There were few lapses here and there especially in fielding. Hope these will be ironed out before Tigers play Lions in the decisive match of the tournament on 19 January.
Tiger admirers expect tigers strangle lions in tigers den. That will be a point to prove that all that matters in cricket at this level is player’s contribution and commitment.
Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka are ranked below Bangladesh in ICC Ranking in ODI. Bangladesh in recent time is a fierce competitor in limited over matches. But sudden resignation of head coach Hathurasingha following South Africa series exposed the unhealthy environment of dressing room.
There had been credible allegations of remote control of team operation even during the game. Five seniors who provide the backbone of Bangladesh cricket renaissance over the past years had issues. They all were under serious stress.
Mashrafe surprisingly resigned from T20I leadership during the second match of three matches T20I series against Sri Lanka. Test Captain Mushfiqur was pushed to the wall.
Mahmudullah was axed from Test squad against Australia; Shakib and Tamim also had issues. But all players could do and can do is roller coaster ride in Rocket series and bilateral engagement against former Bangladesh head coach now in charge of Sri Lanka.
Coming back to analysis of the first match, Mashrafe master stroked of surprising all, opting to bowl after winning the toss and letting two spinners make first use of white balls worked wonder.
The best all rounder of all formats, Shakib struck double blow in the very first over. The rookie south paw Sanjamul also bowled in the right spot strangling the visitors. When majestic Mashrafe and wonder boy Mustafiz appeared in their customary brilliance Zimbabweans had little doing.
After a while, the slow cutters and sort of surprising leg spinners from the boy of Shatkhira were in display. When the foursome were acting well, happy Rubel also blazed with pace and bounce.
Zimbabwe got some respite through a fighting half century from Sikandar Raza. They could master 170 only. The noticeable was complete change of body language of the team. The team that looked completely in disarray in South Africa looked hungry and angry right from the first ball of the first over.
No one had any semblance of doubt that it would be a cake walk for team tigers. Tamim is in terrific form for a while. All eyes were focused on Anamul Bijoy. Perhaps he needs few more innings to transit from domestic cricket to international.
Mashrafe let his deputy bat at three. Two world class performers Shakib and Tamim batted with calculative aggression and took the match beyond the grasp of sims. Bangladesh won by a huge margin of 8 wickets to 21.3 overs to spare. Tamim played yet another belligerent unbeaten innings of 84. Shakib looked in touch with 37. The only blemish in the match was dropped catch in the slip of the bowling of Sanjamul.
The next match on the 19 January is very important. On current form and exploiting home advantage Bangladesh has little to worry.
Moreover, there are other scores to settle. Hathurusingha must be given compliments for his contribution for team Tigers with an awe inspiring performance. Bangladesh must steam roll Lankans in the match.