Saturday, June 22, 2024

Tigers cross Irish hurdle

Shafiul steers first win in World Cup
The celebration continued unabated at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday as the bowlers led by pacer Shafiul Islam salvaged the party for Bangladesh in a match where anything other than a victory would have been a huge upset for the jubilant fans.The sell-out crowd, who were the main inspiration for Shakib Al Hasan’s men in the nail-biting contest, erupted into joy once Shafiul dismissed the last batsmen Boyd Rankin, who chipped to midwicket but was brilliantly caught by Junaed Siddiqui, to ensure the 27-run victory.
The players were also seen taking a victory lap and the reason was simple; with the hard-fought win they not only avenged their second round defeat in the 2007 World Cup in Barbados against the Irish but also kept alive their chances of achieving a second round berth in the competition.
After a shoddy batting performance, the home sides bowlers took charge to script the victory against the ‘never-say-die’ Irish who looked all set to spoil the Bangladesh party after dismissing them for a paltry 205.
In the second session everything fell in place in favour of the Tigers as not only the slow bowlers did their jobs but also young Shafiul brilliantly recovered from his first match hiccough against India as well as a niggling shoulder injury to restore the party for the home team.
Shafiul was absolutely brilliant, especially in his third spell and claimed four wickets to wrap up the Irish innings for 178 runs in 45 overs. There had been a lot of talk about the spin bowlers before the game but finally Shafiul became a hero in the match to make sure that the pacers domination continued against the Ireland team at Mirpur.
The Tigers’ fielding was also at its absolute best in the match.
For a while, Niall O’Brien looked like taking the match away for the Irish but a stunning diving catch at deep midwicket by Tamim Iqbal, who dived forward full length to scoop the ball inches off the ground, sent back the left-hander to the dressing room for a 52-ball 38, off the bowling of Shakib.
And it was then Kevin O’Brien who also threatened the Tigers during his 40-ball 37 before Shafiul got rid of him to bring back the Tigers into the match. From then on it was all going right for the pacer as he went on to pick three more wickets.
Mohammad Ashraful, failed with the bat but repaid the faith shown in him as his occasional spin bowling accounted for two wickets. Shakib too claimed two for 28 runs.
But despite the victory there were still a lot of negatives in this game, and the most prominent of it was an awful batting show from the home side.
The Bangladesh middle order spoiled the flying start provided to them by openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes who put on 50 runs in 5.4 overs.
But the plot was lost once Kayes returned to the pavilion courtesy of a good stumping by O’Brien.
The rest of the batting descended into a series of foolish strokes, epitomized perfectly by captain Shakib himself, who seemed not to have learnt the lesson from a dropped chance provided to him just before he perished.
Mushfiqur Rahim (36) and Rokibul Hasan (38) provided solidity and consolidated on the bright start with a 61 run stand, but both men fell while trying to accelerate the score on a difficult wicket.
Much faith was put on Ashraful when the dashing right-hander came into bat with another 17 overs to go, but somewhat predictably, he fell, as he has on so many occasions recently, trying to improvise a little to early.
The senseless batting from the middle order left the bowlers with a daunting task but a superb team effort meant that the end was memorable for the Tigers.
And it was a fact widely recognized as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia both congratulated the Tigers on the victory late last night.
BANGLADESH: 205 all out in 49.2 overs (Tamim 44, Imrul 12, Mushfiqur 36, Shakib 16, Rokibul 38, Naeem 29, Razzak 11;
Johnston 2-40, Botha 3-32, Dockrell 2-23)
IRELAND: 178 all out in 45 overs (Porterfield 20, Joyce 16, N O’Brien 38, White 10, K O’Brien 37, Botha 22; Shafiul 4-21, Razzak 1-30, Naeem 1-36, Shakib 2-28, Ashraful 2-42)
Result: Bangladesh won by 27 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Tamim Iqbal.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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