Tigers’ dream over


After keeping hopes alive for much of their World Cup campaign and for 98 overs of yesterday’s match against India in Birmingham, two searing yorkers from Jasprit Bumrah sealed Bangladesh’s elimination from the semifinal race of the 2019 World Cup. The 28-run defeat was Bangladesh’s fourth in seven completed matches and, with three wins and a washed-out game against Sri Lanka, left them stranded on seven points when they needed to win yesterday and on July 5 against Pakistan to keep their hopes alive.

It was a valiant effort by Bangladesh as they had to contend with the hard luck in the washed-out game, missing out on the injured Mahmudullah Riyad yesterday as well as losing a crucial toss on a pitch that grew slower as the day wore on. However, they also left themselves too much to do both yesterday and in a demanding tournament after wasting a chance to beat New Zealand early on in their campaign.

Bangladesh had impressed by beating South Africa to start their campaign exactly a month ago, did what was expected by beating West Indies and Afghanistan in rousing fashion, but were found wanting in skill and mentality when faced with the three big teams in England, Australia and India.

Despite Shakib Al Hasan scoring yet another fifty that continued a glittering performance in this tournament and Mohammad Saifuddin hitting an unbeaten 51 to serve notice of his talent, Bangladesh left themselves too much to do after letting India get off to a flyer with a listless bowling and fielding effort. Mustafizur Rahman cleaned up the effort somewhat from the 39th over with a five-wicket haul, but it was a burst of brilliance after already conceding a head start, which eventually proved to be too big a gap to fill even though the Tigers restricted the Indians to 314 for nine after Rohit Sharma’s 104 threatened a score well in excess of 350.

In chase of the target against arguably the tournament’s most versatile attack, Tamim Iqbal looked set to make up for an underwhelming performance thus far and his blunder of dropping Sharma on nine, and hit a few sweetly timed boundaries off the dangerous Bumrah. As he had done throughout the tournament, he was out just when he looked settled, this time inside-edging an attempted glide off Mohammad Shami in the 10th over.

Shakib was as solid as ever, but Soumya Sarkar was the first of several soft dismissals when he hammered a long hop from Hardik Pandya straight to cover to leave the score on 74 for two in the 16th over. There was no big partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib this time as the former swept Yuzvendra Chahal straight to the fielder at square leg. Liton Das continued the trend of soft dismissals when, after adding 41 runs with Shakib for the fourth wicket, he miscued a hook off Pandya after hitting a six earlier in the 30th over. India, who played England on the same pitch on Sunday, knew exactly what they were doing and got the prized wicket of Shakib when Shami bowled a slower ball that stuck in the surface and Shakib’s checked drive looped to a delighted Dinesh Karthik at cover. As Shakib walked back for a 74-ball 66, Bangladesh were on 179 for six in the 34th over. A 66-run partnership between Sabbir Rahman and Saifuddin which only prolonged hope before India made use of the ground Bangladesh had given up.

Earlier, the match started with both teams trying to prove a point in the first 10 overs India had come in for sharp criticism two days ago when they scored just 28 for one in the first 10 in response to England’s 337. Bangladesh had taken a wicket in the first 10 overs only twice in six previous matches. It was India who made their point by reaching 69 without loss in the first Powerplay.

India were helped in that endeavour by Tamim, who dropped Sharma on nine in the fifth over off Mustafizur when the right-hander miscued a pull towards Tamim’s left at deep square leg. Sharma went on to score 104 runs, his fourth century of the edition and 26th in ODI cricket, and the opening stand added 180 runs at six runs an over.

After that bit of fortune, Sharma was flawless, punishing any wayward offerings from Bangladesh — and there were many in the first 20 overs. He cleared both the short and long boundaries with ease as Bangladesh’s bowlers, with the exception of Shakib Al Hasan generally and two overs from skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza after the first Powerplay, bowled at both sides of the wicket and leaked runs. Mashrafe conceded 36 runs from five wicketless overs and then took himself off. He did not bowl again in the match and it was instead the part-time medium pace of Soumya Sarkar that brought relief for the Tigers when he had Sharma caught off a miscued drive at cover for a 92-ball 104 in the 30th over.

That was when a fightback of sorts began from Bangladesh, with Rubel Hossain — playing just his second match of this World Cup — having Rahul caught behind for 77 in the 33rd over. It was a double-wicket maiden from Mustafizur in the 39th over — when he had Kohli caught in the deep for 26 and Pandya caught behind for a second-ball duck, that the brakes were truly applied on India. At the end of the 40th over, India were still sitting pretty on 251 for four with MS Dhoni and Rishabh Pant at the crease. Shakib then bowled his last three overs for just nine runs, getting the wicket of Pant in the bargain, to finish as the most economical bowler on either side with one for 41 from 10 overs.

But it was Mustafizur who stole the show from Bangladesh’s perspective, dismissing Dinesh Karthik in the 48th over with a slower bouncer, before surprising Dhoni with a bouncer and then taking his fifth wicket off the last ball of the innings, which was another double-wicket over. Mustafizur ended with figures of 59 for five in 10 overs — his third five-wicket haul in ODI cricket. It was one of two bright spots in the last match Bangladesh.


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