Home / Sports / Bangladesh aim new heights

Bangladesh aim new heights

44Bangladesh have come a long way from their unimpressive stint last year to the World Cup quarterfinals.

Buoyed by the magical transformation, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Co are now aiming newer heights.

Last year, it was difficult to even imagine that the Tigers would reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

The string of losses they suffered at their own backyard created a negative impression about their prospects in the World Cup in a totally different condition in Australia and New Zealand.

But they have pulled it off quite comfortably.

Pitted in with the two co-hosts, Sri Lanka and England, the group phase promised to be a bumpy one for Bangladesh as Afghanistan and Scotland were capable of pulling off a few surprises.

Bangladesh had been flying high with a 3-0 New Zealand rout before suffering a slump in form. It was a 3-0 series defeat against Sri Lanka that had started the slide.

The series defeat against Lankans was followed by an unmemorable Asia Cup campaign.

Bangladesh, runners-up in the previous edition, crashed out losing all their matches, which included their infamous defeat against Afghanistan.

Despite beating Afghanistan in the qualification round of the Twenty20 World Cup, they suffered another woeful defeat against Hong Kong and followed that up with losses in all four matches in the competition.

Losing another home series 2-0 against India, they flew to the Caribbeans hoping to get back some lost glory, but were crushed 3-0 in the tour.

Over the course of time, they had found creative manners of defeat, losing after putting up their highest ODI total (326/3 against Pakistan) or bowling out their opponents (India) for their lowest total against Bangladesh (105).

Suffering continuous losses from winnable positions dealt massive blows to the Tigers confidence.

They were looking at just one win to salvage poise and a bit of inspiration.

The team underwent an overhaul following the defeats.

It did the tricks. The long-awaited win did come and it came in style; not one, but eight consecutive wins in Tests and ODIs combined.

Appointment of Chandika Hathurusingha as head coach and Heath Streak as pace bowling coach with separate captaincy in different formats of the game seemed to have done the magic.

Mushfiqur Rahim lost captaincy making way for Mashrafe to return at the helm.

Bangladesh returned to winning ways pulverising Zimbabwe 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in ODIs.

Hard work followed the series against Zimbabwe as the Tigers began their World Cup preparations.

They took part in a two-week training camp in Brisbane to assess themselves.

Effects of the adverse conditions took over as Bangladesh lost all four of the warm-up matches. They followed it up with two defeats against Cricket Australia XI and losses against Pakistan and Ireland.

As the showcase event started Bangladesh were under a pile of pressure against Afghanistan in their opening match as memories of their Asia Cup rout still haunted them.

But a crushing 105-run win in the match in Canberra rid them of the shocking memory and they never looked back from there.

After their Brisbane fixture against Australia washed out, Bangladesh lost against Sri Lanka but that did not stop them from chasing down Scotland’s 318 and beating the English Lions in one of the most momentous victories in the country’s cricket history.

They also gave co-hosts New Zealand a run for their money in the last pool fixture.

They seemed to have learned a lot on their way out of the bad times.

Their u-turn brought about changes in the players temperament as well. The team performance is not simply based on talisman Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiq or Tamim Iqbal.

Resurgence of classy Mohammad Mahmudullah and new additions like Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed have boosted the team’s chances of putting formidable fight.

Mashrafe leads from the front in the bowling department with Rubel Hossain and young Taskin as his wingmen. They are capable of testing any batting lineup.

They have put up a great all-round show in the competition, barring the match against Sri Lanka, that put them through to the first-ever knockout stages in the showcase event.

Bangladesh face familiar foes India in the quarters which will mark the most significant encounter in their cricket history.

The players now dream of progressing to the last four of the tournament, beating the defending champions.