There is little it seems that can dampen the spirits of Bangladesh’s fans. They came to South London in thousands, turning The Oval into a sea of joyously enthusiastic green and red — a corner of Kennington temporarily transformed.
The Oval has seen its fair share of boisterous crowds over the years, but it is difficult to imagine many louder roars have been heard here simply at the result of the toss of a coin — Mashrafe Mortaza’s correct call blowing the imaginary roof off the place.
Sadly for Bangladesh’s fans, that was practically as good as it got, not that you necessarily would have known it from the noise they were making.
Tamim Iqbal aside, this was not the sort of performance we have come to expect from a Bangladesh side who now sit sixth in the ODI rankings — it soon became fairly apparent that a repeat of 2005’s thrilling upset was very far from being on the cards.
Still the fans who had gathered to form Bangladesh’s newest and coldest miniature province were not going to let a small thing like an inability to bat well ruin their day. Not even an umpiring decision that was ungenerous to say the least — Shakib Al Hasan given LBW with what must have been more than the usual amount of guesswork from Nigel Llong — could do it.
While Bangladesh fought well in their tournament opener against England, their competitive total of over 300 ultimately not quite enough to see off one of ODI cricket’s most formidable batting lineups. But against Australia, they were disappointing.
Tamim, picking up where he left off on Thursday, was not far off being a one-man team with the bat. Shakib and Mehedi Hasan were the only other men to even manage double figures, an already disappointing batting performance made to look even worse as Mitchell Starc skittled the tail with four wickets in nine balls.
Yet despite this capitulation, the excitement levels from the vociferous Bangladesh contingent in the stands barely dropped, plays and misses from the Australian openers greeted with cheers usually reserved for far more auspicious occasions.
Not even rain, that great destroyer of English summer fun, could quell the zeal of Bangladesh’s fans, certainly not as effectively as it did Australia’s hopes of progressing in this tournament.
With four overs needed for a result, the long-awaited downpour finally descended on The Oval, and with Australia the side likely to be ultimately robbed of victory there were more than a few hearty cheers from the Bangladesh fans.
To the undoubted delight of Bangladesh fans everywhere from South London to the sub-continent, the washout means their team’s tournament hopes are not quite over — if they can upset New Zealand, and provided England win both their remaining games, an unlikely semi-final is still within their reach.
If they play again like they did on Monday, then that looks like a dream as distant as an English summer without rain. However, they showed enough in their first match to suggest that they might just have what it takes. The roar of their fans if they manage it will be quite something.
Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 13:02 PM