Bangladesh cricket team is heading to take on host West Indies on July 25 in the second ODI, aiming with a three-match series victory, having a 48-run victory in the first match at Providence Stadium in Guyana under inspirational and country’s most popular captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
The presence of Mashrafe boosted the Tigers and brought back smiles on their fans’ faces again becoming frustrated just a couple of week ago as all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan-led Test side struggled to put up a fight against the Jason Holder-led side in the two-Test series, swept out by 2-0 in Antigua and Jamaica.
The cause behind the cricket lovers’ sadness was the Bangladesh’s massive loss against host West Indies by an innings and 219 runs in the first Test inside three days where hapless visiting side could stay for 58.5 overs to collect 187 runs for the cost of all 20 wickets of two innings. Moreover, Bangladesh recorded their lowest-ever total of 43/10 in a Test innings, which recorded in the first innings of the game in Antigua.
Bangladesh never made a comeback in that series with poor shows of 149/10 in 46.1 overs in the 1st innings and 168/10 in 42 overs in the 2nd innings for a 166-run defeat in the 2nd Test also ended in a three-day affair in Jamaica.
A change of format brought about a change of fortunes for Bangladesh along with Mashrafe magic, having a 48-run victory in the first game with some degree of comfort.
Mashrafe‘s side seemed to have hit their stride with a dominant performance of the first ODI where they outplayed the West Indies with both bat and ball, including their veterans doing most of the good work, which put Jason Holder’s boys’ under pressure to keep themselves alive in the series.
Mashrafe, considerably the first genuine fast bowler to come out of Bangladesh, will look to handle the Windies for series victory once again relying on the experience of their senior players --like Tamim Iqbal, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad -- to try and repeat the same show at the same venue.
In the 1st game, Tamim hit unbeaten century of 130 runs from the top of the innings and shared a painstaking 207 off 43 overs -- setting up the highest 2nd wicket partnership for Bangladesh -- in the second wicket with Shakib’s 97 runs before an 11-ball 30 from Mushfiqur as a visibly diffident Bangladesh posted 279 for 4 in 50 overs.
The visitors restricted the home side on 231 for 9 in 50 overs where Mashrafe was the main destroyer to defend his side’s post, having a figure of 4 for 37 from 10 overs after ensuring the 1st breakthrough.
Mashrafe’s men defended a modest total otherwise they will mean nothing and the records, which included the highest 2nd wicket partnership and overall 2nd highest partnership for Bangladesh.
However, the highest is 224, just last year in the Champions Trophy, a partnership that Shakib and Mahmudullah in the 5th stand against New Zealand in Cardiff during ICC Champions Trophy in Jun 2017.
On his way to the 10th ODI century in the process scoring the slowest of all 43 centuries scored by Bangladesh cricketers in 50-over cricket, Tamim played 146 balls to reach 100 runs with a single off Alzarri Joseph.
Certainly this wasn’t the free-flowing Tamim we’re used to seeing and he agreed with it after the match saying “I think the first 10 overs were very very difficult. It got better after the 25th over.” But at least he took the effort to apply himself on a tour that has been a nightmare for the batsmen so far.
It really took the effervescent Mushfiqur to provide the impetus that seemed so elusive at one point, and shake Tamim out of the headspace he was in, during a stormy partnership of 54 off 20 balls in the 4th wicket to carry the team collection to 275/4 with one ball left in the innings.
Mashrafe lauded his batsmen saying they set the tone in challenging conditions. “It is always hard but I enjoy on the ground. Just play with your heart as you are playing for your nation. Hopefully, we will carry on from here. We won here against South Africa in 2007. Batting was challenging but Shakib and Tamim set the tone for us and Mushy played a blinder at the end,” Mortaza said.
The 34-year-old Mashrafe, popularly known as ‘Narial Express’ for his bowling pace, still considered the most inspirational captain of Bangladesh due to his will power to continue with national side, recovering the knee injuries. He had undergone surgery for seven times on his leg, knees and ankles.
Under Mashrafe’s captaincy Bangladesh reached into the semifinals of the 8th Champions Trophy at Edgbaston in Birmingham in 2017 and played in the quarterfinals stage in the ICC Cricket World 2015 in Australia, for the first time in both world events.
Mashrafe made his ODI debut in November 2001 and so far played 188 matches to become the most ‘242 wickets takers of Bangladesh in this format. He captained national ODI side in 56 games for 31 victories against 23 losses, since July 2010.