Dream Journey Of Bengal Tigers Fell Short of Destination
Chasing a challenging target of 315 Bangladesh got all out for 286. India looked vulnerable at different stages. But they kept their nerves and staved off Bangladesh challenge effectively ensuring their place among the top four.
With 13 points from 8 matches India is set to finish second. If they do they would not have to play top of the table and reigning champion Australia in the semi final.
The feature of yesterdays match was match winning 180 runs 1st wicket partnership between Rohit and Rahul , fourth century (106) of Rohit match turning brilliant (5/59) bowling of Mustafiz ( the Fizz), another glorious all round performance of Shakib (66 runs and miserly bowling 1/41) .
Off course Bangladeshis have reasons to rue about Tamim dropping a dolly catch of Rohit at 9 off the bowling of Mustafiz.
Bangladesh went to world cup 2019 with lots of promise. With a much matured core composition Bangladesh dreamt to better its 2015 achievement of playing in the quarter finals. They looked team ready for the mission with a resounding performance in pre tournament tri nation ODI series held in Ireland featuring West Indies, Ireland and Bangladesh.
They also made auspicious start beating strong South Africa in the first match. They also won playing well against West Indies and Afghanistan. They could win against New Zealand with a little bit of luck. They did not look blown out against England and Australia as well. Bangladesh was possibly unlucky when it was forced to share points with Sri Lanka in again ruined match.
Till yesterday Bangladesh with 7 points in 7 matches were in the hunt. They could give a big shake to India before going down fighting by 28 runs. Their dream journey in World Cup 2019 is virtually over. Having lost matches against all four top teams Australia, India, New Zealand and England all Bangladesh can hope for is finishing 5th behind them if they win their last match against Pakistan.
The match was played on the used surface where India lost to England the other day. The wicket was slow, gripping and turning from the start. Bangladesh replaced Mehedi with Rubel and Sabbir came in place of injured Mahmudullah. India dropped Kedar Jadhav and brought in Karthik.
B Kumar came in place of Kuldeep Yadav. Perhaps the short boundary on the square influenced decision for dropping one frontline spinner.
Kohli lucky with the coin opted to bat. Mashrafe, the enigmatic captain of Bangladesh appeared past his prime as a bowler who should have played his tricks of accuracy and variation. He proved the weak link in the attack as he opened with the new ball.
All Bangladesh required was early break through exposing vulnerable Indian middle order early at the wicket. Mustafiz almost gave them. Prolific Rohit failing to control a pull offered an easy chance at deep square leg to Tamim. He had apple of time to accept the dolly which he floored. Rohit was only 9 at that time.
Two Indian openers Rohit and Rahul ruthlessly punished Bangladesh bowling. None but Shakib could reign in free stroking Indians an s they cruised to match winning partnership of 180 by the 30th over. Rohit (106) scored his 4th century of this very world cup before part timer Soumya sent him back.
A high quality batsman rarely fails given opportunity before he settles. At 1/180 in the 30th over many apprehended a run riot by the Indians. Rahul and Kohli were cruising. But Mustafiz and Rubel gave timely break through sending back Rahul (77) and Kohli (26) before they could make severe damage.
Shakib kept on bowling tight. Even then at 4/237 in the 39th overs with power hitters MS Dhoni and Karthik at disposal India was expecting for 350 plus score at least . Fortunately for Bangladesh their X-factor Mustafiz bowled a brilliant final spell. His spell of 5 overs at death (4/25) restricted India to 314/9 keeping it within reach of Bangladesh.
Still 315 was a difficult target on a slow turning track getting slower as the match progressed. Tamim and Soumya made a careful start. Tamim played some delectable stroke. Soumya was more sedate. Tamim however got out when Shami coming as first change had his stumps rattled.
Inform Shakib looked very comfortable as he joined Soumya. The pair almost consolidated the position before Pandya removed Soumya (33). Mushfiqur and Shakib were doing ok. The situation required two premiere Bangladesh batsmen carrying their team on their broad shoulders.
India has so many quality options in their bowling. Leg spinner Chahal removing Mushfiqur at critical stage dented Bangladesh run chase. Liton and Shakib also put together a small partnership of 41 for the fourth wicket before Pandya had Liton by Karthik. Liton tried to force the pace.
Shakib in the meantime scored yet another fifty. It was Pandya again who removed Shakib (66). Bangladesh could better challenge Indian target if Shakib could stay longer. But even after Shakib left at 179 in the 34th over Sabbir and Saifuddin kept the momentum going with 66 runs 7th wicket partnership.
India did not panic. Kohli kept on reshuffling his bowling resources. Saifuddin was looking good. But neither Mashrafe nor the ten and jack Rubel and Mustafiz could stay with Bangladesh pace bowling all-rounder .Bumrah bowled Rubel and Mushfiqur with his trademark deceptive full balls in successive deliveries in the 48th over.
Saifuddin remained stranded with a polished 51. Bangladesh dream journey failed reaching destination. Losing by 28 runs Bangladesh is effectively out of the race. They now play Pakistan in their last match which is still of significance to Pakistan. If they win big and New Zealand loose huge against England Pakistan may go through.
India won all right but looked vulnerable at different stages of the game. Dropping catches is a part of the game. But we never know what would have happened if Tamim could hold on to the catch that Rohit offered early. The way it ultimately panned out that drop cost Bangladesh dearly.
It was great that Bangladesh did not die wondering and went down fighting. Next world cup will be four years away. Many waters would flow in all rivers by then. The golden generation of Bangladesh cricket would not be together. I do not see other than Shakib and Mushfiqur surviving.
Mustafiz, Saifuddin, Soumya, Mehedi, Mosaddek would mature by then. Perhaps few new genius would appear. Bangladesh desperately need a pair hostile fast bowlers clocking 145 plus if they want to win major tournament. Mashrafe served Bangladesh wonderfully well for years.
It’s for him to a large extent Bangladesh in cricket is where it is. But he should also understand ‘NO ONE REMAINS INDISPENSIBLE FOR EVER’. He can no longer command a place in the team for his playing ability. Bangladesh cannot have the luxury of carrying a maestro of the past as a burden.
India has few issues to sort out. They have to look for better combination in late middle over batting. For few matches now batsmen below Kohli did not deliver. Punt is OK as a brave striker of the ball. But Dhoni is not in his best. May be on another day Karthik would deliver.
Why not Jadeja given opportunity. Having discussed all India may remain the only representative of the sub continent in the top four. Any team of the top four may win the trophy. We Bangladeshis all over the world keep on dreaming and carrying out post mortem of the fairy tale of team tigers.
ICC World Cup 2019 Match No 40 Played at Birmingham of 2 July 2019
India 314/9 (RG Sharma 104, KL Rahul 77,R Pant 48, MS Dhoni 35 , V Kohli 26, Mustafiz 5/59, Soumya Sarkar /1/33, Shakib Al Hasan 1/41, Rubel Hossain 1/48) beat Bangladesh 286 All Out in 48 Overs (Shakib Al Hasan 66, Mohammad Saifuddin 51*,Sabbir Rahman 36,Soumya Sarkar 33,Mushfiqur Rahim 24,Liton K Das 22,Tamim Iqbal 22, JJ Bumrah 4/55, HH Pandya 3/60) by 28 Runs
Player Of the Match; Rohit Sharma