Fabulous Cricket in the Flood Light of Shere Bangla
The first setback of the 2011 cricket World Cup did not happen at Shere Bangla Stadium on Friday morning, Dhaka, but only barely. If Bangladesh spectators were expecting their team to walk all over the neophytes it did not happen. The last world cup that saw India packing after the preliminary round, also saw a minnow, Ireland, having a dream run up to the next round. On Thursday, Ireland again performed like a lion for major part of the night, only to see their dream dissolving in the morning dews.
It was a scintillating performance by the non-test playing nation to contain Bangladesh for 205 in their home ground amidst vociferous support of 27,000 spectators. When in the late afternoon, Tamim Iqbal, arguably the best batting Tiger began pinch hitting delighting Mirpur crowd, no one expected the outcome that followed. It appeared, despite losing two quick wickets, Bangladesh was on target to put up a decent total on the scoreboard. However, once Tamim fell for 44, giving Ireland their 3rd wicket of the night, there was no one to follow up, his team lost wickets at regular interval and at one time 200 seemed to be a difficult target for them.
Two superb run outs by direct throws demonstrated how keen the Irish fielders were to prove themselves. Mushfiqur Rahman and Raqibul Hasan were the two other batsmen beside Tamim who reached 30s, and Naeem Islam contributed 29. The much vaunted Ashraful failed one more time scoring only 1. Although he somewhat redeemed last night by taking two wickets, Bangladesh Selectors must decide whether they want him in the team for his batting or his bowling, for there are far superior bowlers sitting on the benches, who are awaiting national call.
Continued on the next page
When Bangladesh innings folded, the teenaged Irish spinner George Dockrell had a figure of 2 for 23 from his ten overs, a great performance, bowling with guile and accuracy against a team whose primary strength is in playing spin. With 3 for 32 Botha looked good too, followed by 3 for 40 by Johnston.
Although Ireland lost opener Stirling for 9 at the score of 23, and their Skipper Porterfield for 20 at the score of 36, they were comfortably coasting at 75 when the next wicket fell, and even when they lost their 5th wicket at 110, they had hope. Nevertheless, when the inform N J O’Brien, who had a patient 38 playing 52 balls fell at 151 on Shakib’s bowling, things turned quickly against them, rest of the innings folded only for 27 runs.