Holdingwilley The second best way to enjoy cricket
Due to some technical problems, we are unable to cover live matches on our site and app. We are working on it and will be back soon. Please stay tuned for more.

Mushfiqur: The middle-order saviour

( 1106 views )

Mushfiqur_Rahim_Bangladesh_CricketThe Bangladesh cricket team has always had its critics. While a section absolutely adores the attempts of the rising side, another has its own opinions on the “premature” celebrations and the gumption that comes along whenever the Tigers take the field.

Much before Afghanistan’s rise in the cricketing circuit, Bangladesh were the much-loved underdogs and each victory brought with it a sense of delight within each supporter. Victories over England and South Africa were celebrated and when the Tigers became the seventh side to automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup, ahead of West Indies, the dream had become complete.

But just as Afghanistan faced a massive blow in the Qualifiers, the Bangladesh team suffered its own blips and its own failures, none more than in the shortest format of the game. Ever since MS Dhoni’s heroics in Bengaluru saved the Men in Blue the blushes at the 2016 World T20, the Bangladesh side have lost all ten T20I games, save for one in Colombo last year against Sri Lanka.

The record win in the Nidahas Trophy was much-needed after a streak of five T20I losses. The fact that the victory was aided by Mushfiqur Rahim batting at number 5 – a spot that has turned out to be Bangladesh’s bugbear in the format since 2016 – made the victory even more memorable.

From the World T20 to the second game of the Nidahas Trophy, Bangladesh’s openers have been giving the starts. It is the middle order that has been failing rather miserably. Opener Soumya Sarkar has scored at an average of 32.62 and a strike-rate of 152.63, and has been amply supported by Tamim Iqbal, who plays with a strike rate of well over 120. The opening duo from Bangladesh have been a real threat in the Powerplay overs, scoring 8.86 runs an over in the first six overs, the best after Australia’s run-rate of 9.1 in the same time period.

 

Once the fielding restrictions end and one of openers has departed, the downfall begins in the Bangladesh camp. After a blazing start, the next fourteen overs see them score at just 7.78 per over – the third worst after the run-rate of Zimbabwe and West Indies in the last fourteen. The numbers are proof of the dismal performance of the middle order from the country, who have scored at an average of 18.01 in the last two years, with just one half-century in this time.

 

On March 10, 2018 as well, the game seemed to be heading down the same path, with openers Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das scoring 74 in just 5.5 overs. Soumya, batting at three, and Iqbal added 26 in 22 deliveries and the steep chase of 215 seemed more improbable than ever. Not much was expected from Rahim, who came out to bat at 4, but soon enough the player unleashed his armoury of shots, playing drives with full power and picking up the scoops to perfection, and helped Bangladesh get back in the game after Soumya had struggled to time the ball.

With 20 needed off 15, Mahmudullah went for a rash shot – much like he had two years ago in Bengaluru – and with Sabbir Rahman, the last recognised batsman following suit, waves of déjà vu filled the spectators as yet another irrational batting display from the Bangladeshis threatened to take the game away from the team. However, unlike that dreadful night, Rahim held his nerves and got the crucial boundaries with a memorable triumph in sight. He sent the ball roaring towards the boundary and with just 3 needed in 4, the atmosphere bore a festive look.

Sri Lanka’s tactical mistake of leaving the leg side’s infield open allowed the batsman to pick up a good length ball off Thisara Perera for a single. The “Naagin” dance that followed was a clear sign of the joyful mood in the camp on tasting only their second T20I victory in 14 matches. True, one expects the team to constantly pitch in with match winning performances, but when they do come by after a brilliant rescue-act by one of their mainstays, the cricketing realms get a dose of history that cannot be eradicated.

With his stellar show, Rahim showed that the middle order can come to the party for Bangladesh, resulting in a beautifully scripted fairy-tale that leaves the sporting arena in awe and wonder.

Even in their second game against India, a match they lost, Mushfiqur scored another 70+ score and remained not out. His impressive form looks to be the game-changer Bangladesh need.

 

Fast. Lite. Innovative. Shareable. Download our HW Cricket App, for Android and iOS!



Rate this article:

About the author

Articles:
25
Reads:
19691
Avg. Reads:
788
FB Likes:
375
Tweets:
0

This postgraduate in English Literature has taken on the tough task of limiting the mystic world of...

View Full Profile

Related Content