The dream is over for Bangladesh, but what a couple of weeks it has been.
Drawn in the same group as favourites England as well as Antipodean heavyweights Australia and New Zealand, few people expected them to win a game — instead they exit the competition as semi-finalists having progressed further than ever before in a global tournament.
After the thrilling, record-breaking chase to oust New Zealand in their last game, ultimately Thursday’s semi-final at Edgbaston proved to be something of an anticlimax as the Tigers were outclassed in almost all departments, unable to quite produce the performance that the vociferous support gathered in Birmingham to cheer them on deserved.
However, this has been a tournament to remember for Bangladesh, who despite being fortunate to remain in the competition thanks to a timely washing out of their fixture against Australia, showed an ability to perform in conditions outside the subcontinent that many wondered if they possessed.
At the top of the order Tamim Iqbal was monumental for Bangladesh, finally ending his ICC tournament hoodoo to rack up 293 runs in four matches — a particularly impressive haul considering one of those innings was a duck.
Before the Champions Trophy it had been said that for Bangladesh to do well they would need Tamim to perform and the opener did not disappoint. Given how long he has been on the scene, it seems incredible that he is still only just 28, younger than Virat Kohli, so with any luck this is just the start of things for him and Bangladesh.
This tournament also showed that Bangladesh are far from a one or two-men team, with Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah all stepping up at various points with the bat and this will be hugely encouraging for them and their fans.
Where Bangladesh struggled a little in this tournament was with the ball, as both England and India knocked off not insubstantial run chases with relative ease. However, difficulty in picking up wickets has hardly been a problem exclusive to them in this tournament, with largely batting-friendly surfaces making it hard going for a lot of bowlers.
Nevertheless, Mustafizur Rahman, whose elastic wrists and skills at the death had raised hopes of causing chaos on his maiden international trip to these shores, ultimately had something of a tournament to forget — perhaps still feeling his way back from injury he only picked up one wicket.
In fact, wickets in general were something Bangladesh struggled with across the board, with part-timer Mossadek Hossain picking up the most, all three of which came in the space of 12 balls against New Zealand.
However, aside from Pakistan’s surprising and thrilling resurgence this has not been a Champions Trophy that will be looked back on with much fondness by bowlers, even in the context of ODI cricket which feels ever more weighted in favour of batsmen, but for a team many of whom were experiencing English conditions for pretty much the first time, this will serve as valuable experience.
Perhaps where Bangladesh almost made the most impact was off the field, with thousands of enthusiastic supporters packing themselves into grounds wherever they played, from The Oval to Cardiff. The atmosphere they provided at every Bangladesh game was phenomenal and should make the ECB sit up and take note — they can no longer claim that there would be little interest in scheduling fixtures against Bangladesh in England in the future.
That in fact could perhaps be the greatest upside to this performance from Bangladesh, who as a nation were perhaps elevated to cricket’s top table a little prematurely but who now more than deserve their place there, and if they can carry on in the same vein as the last two weeks, should continue rattling the cages of more-vaunted opponents for quite some time to come.
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Published Date: Jun 16, 2017 08:55 am | Updated Date: Jun 16, 2017 08:55 am