What a marvelous victory for Bangladesh! The bat of Shakib and Liton overcame the West Indian threat to keep the hopes of Tigers alive in this tournament……
Over the past few days, the weather in Dhaka has been exhausting. Life has come to a standstill due to the hot and humid weather. While rain was taking the sheen-off the World Cup in England, people in Bangladesh and Dhaka were begging for rain to the Almighty. But it seemed, the Almighty had tested the patience of Bangladeshis for a while as He was waiting to gift them rain on a very special occasion.
The rain in England had taken a break and finally, fans could enjoy some cricket. Somewhere in Taunton, the sun was shining brightly and the passionate fans of Bangladesh cricket team gathered in numbers to greet their beloved boys, who would face the West Indies in a very important match. Obviously, the match was important. After two back to back defeats, the existence of Tigers came under threat. But given their brilliant record against the Caribbeans in recent past, they did have a great chance to bounce back.
And they did bounce back!
On a sun-kissed morning at Taunton, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza won the toss and decided to field first. Well, given the nature of the deck and Pakistan’s failed-chase against Australia the other day, perhaps, it was not the ideal decision. The track at Taunton would become slow and low with the progression of day and having the depth and quality in spin department, batting first might have been the best option. Moreover, the teams batting first enjoyed more successes in this tournament.
Mashrafe’s decision to field first seemed to be a wrong one when the West Indian batters went all guns blazing at the end of middle overs and start of third powerplay. Still, Bangladesh did not panic, but fielded extremely well and tried their level best to tighten up the screw so that the West Indian batters could not surpass more than 350.
Bangladesh succeeded in keeping West Indian batsmen quiet in the slog overs. But chasing a total of 320-plus against the likes of Gabriel, Thomas, Cottrell, and Holder would never be an easy task. At the other hand, the mindset of Bangladesh batsmen have changed a lot. Especially, their successes against West Indies have instilled the belief that, no matter what challenges the Caribbeans throw at them, the Tigers would overcome it in flying colours.
The invincible Shakib Al Hasan
Despite a powerful start from Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar, Bangladesh lost their way after the fall of Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. Liton Kumar Das emerged in the scene – a batsman, ignored more often and was subjected to ugly trolls in social media, to partner Shakib Al Hasan, who was batting at another level as if someone invincible has arrived from the heavens to prove, impossible is nothing.
Indeed, impossible is nothing. For someone like Shakib, dreaming big and chasing that dream is a day to day habit. One of the characteristics of a flawed genius is that they dare to explore the forest engulfed by fire. Even if the risk of burning into ashes remains, still they would dare to do that.
While the rest would call them a crazy idiot and write them off, the flawed genius conquers the fearsome flames of fire. And returns to leave other stunned. This is what Shakib is all about. In fact, this has been the story of number 1 all-rounder in the planet. He is the Cristiano Ronaldo of modern day cricket. He loves doing things his way – the crazy-but-stylish-way – the Shakib way; a style, which is so similar to Cristiano.
He was airborne when the ball pitched short. If it was pitched up, he would pivot on the back foot early to fetch runs through the gaps. He would whack the snoters powerfully through midwicket – no other batsmen in the team could get on top of bounce better than Shakib. Oh yes, he executed some classic and well-timed shots through the V and covers like a great artist – those wrists and forearms are like Thor, but wrapped with silk.
The class of Liton Kumar Das
Anyone batting with him at the other end, would love to emulate the Cristiano of Bangladesh cricket. And the kind of talent and skill Liton possess, another masterclass was expected. The boy delivered his best, when Bangladesh needed it most.
Liton’s bat answered his critics.
His authority over backfoot stroke-play was evident against South Africa four years ago, when he hooked a Rabada short-ball for six at long leg. That was a moment of genius. Not many have seen a Bangladeshi batsman hook like that. Such a confident stroke-play on the back foot could be seen at Taunton where he thrashed Shannon Gabriel with a rare disdain – throw cannonballs at me, I will send them to the stratosphere – this was the kind of attitude Liton displayed as his bat scripted a swashbuckling knock of 94 off just 69 balls.
At the other end, Shakib completed his second succesisve hundred of the tournament – no sixes were hit, but 16 fours and outstanding strike-rotation glorified his knock. The partnership of 189 for the fourth wicket remained firm as Bangladesh became the first ever side in history of World Cup to successfully chase a target of 300-plus and achieve over 50+ balls to spare!
As Shakib and Liton were steering Bangladesh home safely, dark clouds started to gather over Dhaka. We could listen to the roar of sky as if the Tigers were roaring. The heavens opened as rain poured heavily to cool things off in Dhaka. People in Dhaka greeted the rain and celebrated the astonishing victory along with the blessings of Almighty.
Certainly, the Almighty keeps the best gifts for special occasions!