After five successive editions in Europe, the ICC Trophy was hosted in Kenya, Africa. This time around, Bangladesh were harbouring hopes of qualifying for the ICC World Cup, which was co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1996.
The Bangladesh Cricket Control Board was gradually turning professional but the politics still existed. Bangladesh went to the tournament under the guidance of former Indian cricketer Mohinder Amarnath but the sudden change in captaincy had rocked the dressing room. Faruk Ahmed, who according to many was not in form to make it into the playing XI, took charge as the captain in place of Minhajul Abedin.
This made many in the team upset but not Minhajul, who went on to score the second highest number of runs (198 in seven matches at an average of 37.80) and pick up the most wickets (16 at an economy rate of 3.67) for Bangladesh in the tournament.
However, the overall performance was not good enough as Bangladesh returned home, having exited in the second round of the tournament.
Bangladesh reached Kenya on the back of a good preparation, winning three out of five warm-up matches. In the first round, Bangladesh took on the United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Argentina and East and Central Africa in Group B and finished second, winning three matches in four attempts. Their only defeat came against the UAE.
In the first game against Argentina, they were inspired by opening batsman Athar Ali Khan’s 41-run knock, defeating the South American nation by seven wickets.
Against East and Central Africa, left-arm paceman Golam Nousher gave Bangladesh the edge, taking four wickets and restricting the opposition to 98. Bangladesh chased down the target in 22.5 overs with seven wickets intact; Faruk scoring an unbeaten 27.
In the penultimate match, Bangladesh registered a three-wicket win over USA, guided by Akram Khan’s unbeaten 64.
Having marched on strongly to the second phase, Bangladesh were placed in Group E along with hosts Kenya, the Netherlands and Hong Kong and with only one victory, the side had to return home.
They started off the second round with a 47-run defeat against the Netherlands. Batting first, the Dutch posted 205 runs on the board, thanks to opener Robert Franks' 64. Chasing the target, Bangladesh managed only 158 in 48 overs before losing all of their wickets.
Bangladesh in the next game faced the home side and the visitors were confident with their chances, owing to their track record against this opponents. But interestingly, in-form pacer Nousher was benched for this match. He missed the first game against the Dutch and the same happened when the side took on Kenya and the result - Bangladesh lost to Kenya by 13 runs and confirmed their return ticket home.
A win against Kenya would have kept alive Bangladesh’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals, given that they faced minnows Hong Kong. And there proved to be no shocking results as Bangladesh won by 57 runs. Minhajul had put up a brilliant all-round show, scoring 66 runs to help Bangladesh put up 238 for the loss of eight wickets, and later bagged four wickets to restrict Hong Kong to 181.
Bangladesh returned with their chins down yet again, having failed in their pursuit of sealing their maiden berth in the World Cup.
Bangladesh squad - 1994 ICC Trophy
Akram Khan, Aminul Islam, Athar Ali Khan, Enamul Haque, Faruk Ahmed, Golam Nousher, Jahangir Alam, Jahangir Alam Talukdar, Minhajul Abedin, Mizanur Rahman, Nasir Ahmed, Selim Shahed, Shanewaz Shahid, Sharfuddoula, Shariful Haque
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