Friday, June 14, 2024

How long must we sing this song?

And it happens again. Only the harshest of hearts would not have broken a little at the sight of Shakib Al Hasan standing with shoulders slumped by his shattered stumps, a defeated man after trying so hard to yet again pull off a victory single-handedly. What happened at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday in the Asia Cup opener between Bangladesh and Pakistan was nothing less than criminal.
40 balls left, 39 to win and five wickets in hand. Easy equation? Not for Bangladesh and the fans knew it all too well, because it has happened again and again that Bangladesh take a winning situation and conspire to lose. It has happened too often and no longer can it be said that it is a young team and they lack experience. That is just not true.
Yes, the key wicket of Nasir Hossain had fallen at that point. But that is no excuse, because it is not asking too much of professional cricketers to play sensible cricket. A run-a-ball was needed, and all that was needed for the following batsmen was to give Shakib, who as usual was in full control of the situation, the strike and the match was in the bag. But sense is not a common thing in the Bangladesh camp.
First it was Abdur Razzak, a veteran of 130 ODIs. Instead of taking the single, he wanted to hit one out of the park, only to have his stumps splayed by Saeed Ajmal. Then Mashrafe Mortaza, with nine matches fewer than Razzak and a man dear to most cricket supporters in the country, who did the same when all he had to do was play out one ball and Shakib would have the strike next over. Two wickets in one over, the forty-fifth, and the dream shattered.
There is no conceivable justification for the way these two got out. Their first job may be bowling, but so is Pakistan pacer Umar Gul’s. What did he do? He rescued Pakistan from the travails of 198 for seven to lift them to 262. There again Mashrafe was culpable. After Gul had done the sensible thing and played himself in before launching into glory-grabbing shots, he was served a spate of full tosses by Mashrafe in the penultimate over, which cost 16 runs. All the good work was undone.
Mashrafe will take the defeat harder than most; he is a passionate cricketer who is fiercely proud to play for his country. It was his comeback match, but the least that can be asked of such an experienced cricketer is some common sense in crunch situations. All the experience in the world is not worth a dime without that. The same, sadly, is true of Razzak.
Credit must be given where due. It was a match in which the Tigers were on an even keel with a strong Pakistan side and even dominated parts of it. The bowling was disciplined till the death overs, and the fielding was largely good. Nazimuddin and Tamim Iqbal gave the team a good start in a challenging chase, and the brightest spot was Shakib and Nasir’s 89-run sixth wicket partnership that put the team in a winning position from the difficult situation of 135 for five.
But neither the scoreline nor the Asia Cup standings will reflect any of that. Not even Shakib’s role as the tragic hero, the last of seven batsmen to be bowled when the summit was visible but the rope had run out. Cricket is a team game, and if the eleven players cannot perform and do the simple things right in crunch situations, it’s a team only in name. One would hope that this lesson will be learnt, but that seems to be to be asking too much.

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by 2 wickets in T20 World Cup thriller

Sports Desk : Towhid Hridoy’s aggression and Litton Das’ calmness backed up the heroic effort from the Bangladesh bowlers and handed Sri Lanka a two-wicket defeat in a tense T20 World Cup game at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas. With the win over Sri Lanka, Bangladesh now are a better-placed team of ... Read more

India crush Bangladesh in final warm-up

Sports Desk : Bangladesh suffered a crushing 60-run defeat to India in their final official T20 World Cup warm-up match at the Nassau County Cricket Stadium in New York on Saturday. Mahmudullah was the only Bangladesh batter who looked comfortable on a difficult wicket and a big ground. While the others huffed and puffed, ... Read more

Saikat to officiate in T20 World Cup opener

Sports Desk : Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat will become the first Bangladeshi umpire to officiate at an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup when he stands in the tournament opener between USA and Canada, said an ICC press release on Wednesday. Saikat, 47, took charge of five matches at last year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World ... Read more

BCB announce World Cup squad with Taskin

Sports Desk : Taskin Ahmed, after concerns with a rib injury, has been included in the Bangladesh national team’s 15-man squad for the forthcoming T20 World Cup in West Indies and USA as the Bangladesh Cricket Board announced on Tuesday. This is also the squad for Bangladesh’s three-match T20I series against USA later this ... Read more

Tigers to tour West Indies in November

Sports Desk : The Bangladesh national cricket team is scheduled to tour the West Indies in November to feature in two Tests, three one-day internationals, and as many T20Is, revealed the Windies Cricket Board in a press release on Saturday. The first Test will begin on November 22 in Antiga, while the second and ... Read more

ICC bans Nasir for two years

Sports Desk : Bangladesh all-rounder Nasir Hossain has been for two years by the International Cricket Council after he accepted three charges of breaching the Emirates Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption Code. The charges against Nasir were in relation to the 2021 Abu Dhabi T10 League. Six months of his two-year ban is suspended, meaning the ... Read more

New Zealand win 3rd T20I to level series 1-1 with Bangladesh

Sports Desk : New Zealand beat Bangladesh by 17 runs (DLS method) in the third and final T20I of the three-match series against Bangladesh at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday. The win made sure the hosts level the series 1-1 after losing the first match, and the second contest being called ... Read more

New Zealand-Bangladesh second T20I called off due to persistent rain

Sports Desk : The second T20I between New Zealand and Bangladesh of the three-match series at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui has been called off due to persistent rain. New Zealand were 72-2 after 11 overs when the umpires decided the rain was too heavy to continue the proceedings. Shoriful Islam was impressive ... Read more

Shorna seals Tigresses’ historic first-ever T20I win against South Africa

Sports Desk : All-rounder Shorna Akter stole the show in Benoni as she picked up five wickets to hand Bangladesh women’s national team their first-ever win on South African soil as they beat the Proteas by 13 runs in the first Twenty20 International of the three-match series on Sunday. This is Bangladesh’s first win ... Read more

Bangladesh’s Marufa and Rabeya included in women IPL auction list

Sports Desk : The second edition of the Indian women’s franchise-based Women’s Premier League will take place next year. The auction for the tournament will be held on 9 December this year. Bangladesh cricketers Rabeya Khatun and Marufa Akter are placed in the draft of that auction. The base price of both of them ... Read more

Bangladesh wins historic Test match against New Zealand

Sports Desk : Taijul Islam picked up his second 10-wicket haul in Tests to take Bangladesh to a historic 150-run win over New Zealand on the final day of their first Test in Sylhet on Saturday. This is Bangladesh’s second-ever win over New Zealand and the first at home against them. This is also ... Read more

England brings down the Tigers

Sports Desk : Bangladesh failed to maintain the momentum gained by beating Afghanistan in the opening match as they suffered a massive 137-run defeat against defending champions England in the second match of the ICC World Cup in Dharamsala on Tuesday. After being put into bat first by Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan, England ... Read more

Emirates shares excitement with cricket lovers

The airline brand named ICC’s Cricket World Cup airline partner Sports Desk : Emirates has announced it is the official airline partner of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. Kicking off the 13th edition of the tournament, the airline brand shares its excitement for the game with a video featuring Indian batsman, Dinesh ... Read more

South Africa crush Sri Lanka by 102 runs in World Cup opener

Sports Desk : South Africa came with a dominating performance as they defeat Sri Lanka by a big margin of of 102 runs in the fourth game of the World Cup on Saturday. The Proteas bowled the Lankan batters out for 326 runs in 44.5 overs while defending the mammoth total of 428 runs ... Read more

Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 6 wickets in opener

Sports Desk : A stunning all-round display from Mehidy Hasan Mirza, who notched up a half-century and claimed three wickets, powered Bangladesh to a comprehensive six-wicket win over Afghanistan in their first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in Dharamsala on Saturday. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Bangladesh captain ... Read more

Nagad to gift BMW to Bangladesh cricketers if they win World Cup

Sports Desk : If Bangladesh wins the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2023, mobile banking service provider Nagad will gift BMW-branded cars to every cricketer in the team. This was announced by Tanvir A Mishuk, founder and managing director of Nagad, expressing his belief that winning the World Cup would be a significant ... Read more

Pakistan see off Netherlands and starts the World Cup successfully

Sports Desk : Pakistan opened their World Cup 2023 campaign with a comfortable 81-run win against the Netherlands on Friday at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. , quickly chipping away all the wickets despite a steady start by them. The Netherlands could not hold on to the momentum and kept on losing wickets at ... Read more

New Zealand thrashes England in Cricket World Cup opener

Sports Desk : England’s World Cup defense began with a punishing nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad as New Zealand grabbed a measure of revenge after four years of preparation. Organizers were planning a repeat of the 2019 final to kick off this year’s tournament, but rather than a nail-biter as the excitement of the Lords ... Read more

England’s Stokes in doubt to start World Cup due to hip injury

Sports Desk : There are doubts about injury risk for Ben Stokes in England’s opening World Cup match against New Zealand on Thursday (October 5) after a hip injury kept the all-rounder out of the teams’ pre-tournament warm-up matches. Stokes reversed his year-long retirement from one-day international cricket in order to help defend the ... Read more

Tigers ready for effective representations

Sports Desk : Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan said on Wednesday that he believed that the team was ready for a good display in this edition of the ICC World Cup as they have prepared well for the tournament despite a below-par performance in the recent past. The Tigers are coming into the tournament ... Read more