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Rubel Hossain to be cleared of rape allegations

Only two months ago, Rubel Hossain was behind bars. He spent three days in custody and only when he was granted bail was he permitted to join his country's World Cup squad in Australia. 

On Tuesday, he was a national hero, having led Bangladesh to their finest hour, bowling England's Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson in the most tense of finales in Adelaide to see them qualify for the knockout stages for the first time.

Hossain's journey to the dramatic climax on Monday night, and since, is as incredible as the result itself.

In January, the 25-year-old was detained over a rape allegation lodged by an ex-girlfriend, the high-profile actress Naznin Akter Happy, who claimed he had retreated from an earlier pledge to marry her, an offence under Bangladeshi law.  He remains on bail, but maybe for not much longer after Happy, 19, told Bangladesh television station Channel 24 that she would not continue with the case. 

Hossain denied any wrongdoing, and after three days in a cell, a magistrate granted him bail until the end of the World Cup at the request of his lawyers – "in the national interest".

The paceman was, it was argued, too important to Bangladesh's chances at the World Cup to leave behind.

In the latest twist of a saga which has gripped the conservative Muslim-majority country, Happy said she had decided to forgive her former boyfriend.


I've forgiven him. I am not going to continue the case against him


- she said.

"I am not going to give any testimony or evidence against [him]. And if I don't carry on with the case, then there is no case."

Now, Hossain and the Tigers can look forward to what hapless England can't: a quarter-final appearance at the 50-over game's showpiece event.

The Bangladeshis flew to New Zealand on Tuesday ahead of their final game of the group stage against the Black Caps. They will likely face neighbours India in the last eight.

Bangladesh celebrated on the outfield at Adelaide Oval on Monday night, in their thousands at Dhaka University and even in the press box, with members of the touring press corps reacting wildly to the victory.

Had Hossain not stepped up in the 49th over their reactions may have been very different.  

To borrow from Steve Waugh's famous line to Herschelle Gibbs, Hossain's teammate Tamim Iqbal almost had his own 'You've just dropped the World Cup' moment, or at least one to cost his nation its finest hour in the sport.

Only 15 balls remained when the opening batsman from Chittagong planted himself under a ball England's would-be saviour Chris Woakes had slugged to long-on.

Almost incomprehensively, however, he spilled it, and seemingly with the clanger went the Tigers' dream of a berth in the knockout stages. Woakes slipped through for two runs and England, eight down, only needed 18 from 14 to escape. 

Little wonder then that when Hossain sealed it Iqbal was the most relieved person on the field – and probably in the country of nearly 160 million.

"I've been in that position myself, where I've dropped a catch in front of 750 million people," said former Bangladesh coach Stuart Law.

"It's not a great feeling. You're looking for the ground to open up and swallow you whole. Tamim, he's one of those guys who is enigmatic.

"On his day he can win you a game from nowhere, and other times he doesn't turn up...just the pressure got to him. He would have been thinking he wanted to catch that so badly that he forgot to watch the ball.

"He was bitterly disappointed, I heard the captain Mashrafe [Mortaza] say at the end of the game he was feeling it and apologising to the boys every five seconds. I felt for him, but lucky enough it didn't cost them."

Law says reaching the quarter-finals is a monumental achievement.

"I was part of an Asian Cup which was held in Bangladesh and we beat India and Sri Lanka in that tournament...our bus couldn't' leave for the hotel again until well after midnight because there were 80,000 partying in the street," he said.

"To go out and beat England in a World Cup, I can imagine that party will still be going on right now in Dhaka but also across the rest of Bangladesh. They know how to party."

Source- Sydney Morning Herald

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