Tigers eye bigger scalp in decider

As country’s biggest festival Eid-ul-Fitr approaches fast, Bangladesh cricket team stand with a chance to add an extra colour to the celebration when they take on South Africa in the series deciding third and final one-day international in Chittagong today. The Proteas and the Tigers are currently locked at 1-1 in three-match series after they won the first and second match respectively in Dhaka in equally dominating manner.
South Africa won the first match with eight wickets and 53 balls to spare after they won the Twenty20 series 2-0 only giving an indication that this series was going to be a one-sided affair.
But, the Tigers came back in style by winning seven wickets and 134 balls to spare in the second match to bring their confidence and restore the parity in the series.
Not only the contrasting results but also the way those matches were determined made this match not only the series decider but also a very unpredictable one.
Ace all-rounder Sakib al Hasan said on Tuesday that winning the series against mighty South Africa will be a greater achievement than winning against India and Pakistan.
The Tigers, who have been enjoying an amazing winning run at home after they reach their first over World Cup quarter-finals, won two consecutive ODI series against two Asian giants Pakistan and India.
The win in the second ODI, their only the second against the African side and the first one in eight years, only confirmed their status as the new giants-killers in world cricket.
Yet, Sakib believes that a series win against much high-ranked Proteas will be a major accolade in their history.
‘It is bigger than India and Pakistan series,’ Sakib said in Chittagong. ‘We have not done these things yet. Naturally what we have not achieved yet is a big thing,’ the 28-year old added.
However, he did not undermine the wins against the Asian giants and hailed those as big achievements.
‘We have never beaten South Africa in a series so this would be a big thing if we can clinch the series, but what we have achieved yet is also big.’
The top ranked all-rounder in three formats in world thinks that teams only think match by match but as a series decider this very game has some extra importance.
‘Every match is important. We think of winning every time we get in the field. It is a series decider so it is more important.’
‘As we have won the second game big things are beckoning us. We shall focus on that, so that we can win and continue our winning run at home.’
Bangladesh team have been playing a positive brand of cricket since the World Cup and endowed with many talents and match winners but Sakib, who will make his 9th anniversary in international cricket on next month, is still regarded as best of the lot.
Sakib’s home performance is one of the best in the world but whenever he played in the Zahur Ahmed Stadium, the venue of today’s game, he achieved some unbelievable things those exceed anything.
Sakib got his best Test match bowling figure of 7-37 against New Zealand, best ODI bowling of 4-16 against West Indies and his amazing all-round achievement of a century and four-wicket haul in the same ODI against Zimbabwe all in this ground.
But the southpaw thinks that past is past and only the performance of the day counts.
‘We must play good cricket wherever we play. No one thinks prior to a match about the luck of the ground, pitch and so forth.’

-With New Age input

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