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Tigers maul World Champions

Staff Correspondent
09 Mar 2023 14:51:45 | Update: 10 Mar 2023 00:32:22
Tigers maul World Champions
— BCB Photo

In the end, it was very, very easy. More than anybody had presumed. And definitely more than anybody that hoped for.

The two sides, meeting for the first time in a bilateral series in this format, exist in two poles when it comes to playing Twenty20s.

England, the current World Champions. Bangladesh, the historic strugglers in this format.

The picture seemed flipped on Thursday at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium as the Tigers simply walked over the English with six wickets and 12 balls in hand, outplaying the World Champions with the ball and the bat, and also in the field.

Batting first, England, despite their brilliant start, were restricted to 156-6, with only Jos Buttler scoring past fifty.

In reply, the Tigers went off to a quick start courtesy of the returning Rony Talukdar, and then, Najmul Hossain Shanto’s blistering 51 off 30 balls ensured that they reached the target easily, which was achieved by skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who took the Tigers home with an unbeaten 34.

“This win against England will give us a lot of confidence. Our team will grow from here. This win will give us confidence ahead of the second match,” player of the match Najmul said after the match.

“The way we approached the game was fantastic. We were under the pump in the first ten overs but no one panicked. We stuck to the plans. Hopefully, we can keep this in the dressing room. This is a great start, for the World Cup in 2024,” a pleased Shakib said.

English opener Phil Salt also rained down praise for the Bangladesh batting effort.

“Najmul played very well in the chase. I think the openers set the chase up very well for them, and I think in the middle they played really well. I think the lads that were in for them, found a way of getting a boundary early in the over quite a lot of the time. I think they ran pretty well as well. So, they'll be sitting in that dressing room right now, thinking that's as close to a perfect chase as they'd have wanted these conditions,” he said.

If the early proceedings were something to go by, the match was all England’s. Their openers, Salt and Buttler, put together 80 in the first 10 overs and Bangladesh fielders had already dropped them both, meaning Buttler, arguably the best batter in the world in this format, was set for a flourishing finish.

From there, Bangladesh bowlers, courtesy of some fantastic death bowling, pulled it back to restrict them to 156-6. The last five overs produced only 30 for England, including only two boundaries.

Youngster Hasan Mahmud was spectacular, giving away just five runs in his two overs at the death, including one over where he sent Buttler packing and gave away just a single.

The effort from the bowlers was also helped by the fantastic fielding effort put in by Bangladesh, epitomised in the final ball of the Three Lions’ innings when Moeen Ali almost hit Taskin Ahmed out of the ground but Najmul managed to take the catch but saw himself going over the boundary, and pushed it back in, where Rony almost hung on to it to make it a brilliant catch. Still, four runs were saved, and the Tigers had saved more overall.

In reply, Bangladesh were off to a flourish as Rony scored 21 off 14 balls and they had 32 in three overs. Once he and Liton Das were gone, Bangladesh could have lost it but then came Najmul Hossain Shanto and the debutant Towhid Hridoy, a pair that had brought Sylhet Strikers much success in the latest Bangladesh Premier League.

The duo added 65 runs in just 39 balls, with Najmul going ballistic, hitting Mark Wood for four fours and reaching fifty off just 27 balls. Towhid also accompanied him well, scoring 24 off 17 to get off the mark in the global arena.

However, the duo were dismissed within a span of seven balls, meaning England still had a sniff with 45 runs yet to get for Bangladesh.

That did not turn out to be the case as Shakib and Afif Hossain expertly put together a 46-run stand, nodding along with the required rate below six and finding necessary boundaries to never have the rate creep up.

And then, Shakib edged one for four to take Bangladesh to the win, a scrappy ending to a near-perfect performance.