WORLD CUP 2019
Shakib created World Cup history with 606 runs and 11 wickets. © AFP
What worked for them? Their self-belief
Bangladesh are no longer a team that oppositions take for granted; they’re no mere pushovers, and they proved it this edition. The 2019 World Cup was the third instance of Bangladesh having won three games in a World Cup, but this was hands-down their best performance in the global tournament.
They had the potential of ending up with more than just those three wins had it not been for squandering their position and failing to seize the key moments. They made teams work hard for their wins and pushed them right till the end.
It all began with the win over South Africa in their tournament opener – a not-so-gentle reminder of their meteoric rise in international cricket. And they were aided by the experience of Shakib Al Hasan, whose consistently stellar performances throughout their campaign, kept them in the hunt both with bat and ball.
What pulled them back? The bowlingand fielding
Bangladesh failed to pick up early wickets, and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s insipid stint took a toll on them. He only managed the solitary wicket in the entire tournament. The other pacers were either too full or too short and the lack of variations in their repertoire cost them.
Mustafizur Rahman, the second-best in terms of wickets this edition, has a tally of 20 wickets for the tournament but conceded 484 runs in eight matches. He had two five-wicket hauls against India and Pakistan respectively, but despite going for runs, bowled some good spells through the tournament.
It came down to key moments in the end in the field too. In their second game against New Zealand that they ended up conceding by two wickets. Bangladesh put on 244 on the board, and nearly even defended it. But missing the run-out chance of Kane Williamson early, cost them in the end as the skipper put on a century stand with Ross Taylor to steer his side close to victory. Ditto against India, where they dropped Rohit Sharma very early in the innings, who eventually scored a century, costing them the game in the end. They, in total, dropped eight catches.
What did they sorely miss? An express bowler and support for Shakib
A strike bowler up front who could pick up early wickets; an X-factor of a bowler who the opposition saw as a threat and wanted to see off in the early stages. Mustafizur wasn’t effective from the start, gradually finding his feet, and was mainly effective in the death overs. Mortaza and Mohammad Saifuddin as new-ball bowlers lacked pace and precision and were unable to contain oppositions. Rubel Hossain, who is their quickest bowler, was benched and didn’t play a game.
With the bat, they were overtly dependent on Shakib. Soumya Sarkar was arguably reckless, and Tamim Iqbal couldn’t find form and it resulted in the failure of the pair to provide the starts that Bangladesh needed. The eventual responsibility was heaped onto Shakib repeatedly, and to some extent Mushfiqur Rahman (367 runs at 52.42), who stood up tall. Liton Das scored a brilliant unbeaten 94 against West Indies but waned off in whatever chances he got after. Mosaddek didn’t justify his talent nor did Mohammad Mithun with the middle order’s failing stark.
Best player – Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib had a near-dream tournament. Near because Bangladesh didn’t qualify for the semifinals. He created history with his all-round brilliance, amassing 606 runs at 86.57, with two centuries and five fifties. He struck at 96.03, and also picked up 11 wickets, with no other player in World Cup history having scored even 400 runs and returning 10 wickets. He was also Bangladesh’s best bowler in terms of his economy rate. He was the only highlight, Bangladesh’s sole hope in qualifying, which doesn’t ultimately justify them finishing in the top four.
Disappointing player – Mashrafe Mortaza
One wicket in the tournament – that was what Mortaza will return home with. He failed to provide Bangladesh with the starts the needed upfront in the innings, sharing the new ball with Saifuddin. He conceded 315 runs in his 49 overs in seven games. The retirement speculations surrounding the camp at all times didn’t help with their focus either. There were instances where he was criticised for not having led from the front too, like against India in Edgbaston, where he took himself out of the attack after having bowled just the opening over, and bowled only five in the game, conceding 36.
What’s on the highlights reel?
In 2011, the West Indian bus was stoned by Bangladeshi fans for their team having been bowled out for 58. In 2019, Bangladesh made history, chasing down West Indies’ 322 to complete their highest-ever run-chase. It was the second-highest across World Cups as Shakib and Das steered Bangladesh to a seven-wicket win. Liton was unbeaten on 94 and Shakib on 124 with the pair’s unbeaten stand of 189. It surely will be one of the highlights for them in the World Cup.
Shakib’s brilliance apart too, Saifuddin’s emergence would have pleased Bangladesh. Although he was a bit erratic upfront, in his later spells, he provided vital breakthroughs. At the end of the tournament, he finished with 13 wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 7.18.