Following a disappointing Test match series, Bangladesh’s three-game ODI series against host South Africa raised the bar of expectation, considering the Tigers' performance in the last two-three years in the 50-over format. But once again, South Africa proved too much for Bangladesh as the visiting side lost all the three ODIs and surrendered to the opposition by quite big margins.
Star all-rounder Shakib al Hasan, who was rested for the Test series, came back for the ODIs along with 50-over captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza. It was expected that fresh players and the 50-over format will bring the best out of the Tigers. But reality was completely different.
Just before the ODI series, Bangladesh were dealt a heavy blow as a crucial member of the team, left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman, twisted his ankle and was subsequently ruled out from the rest of the tour. It was a major blow for Bangladesh as the Tigers needed Mustafizur badly. He was the only Bangladesh bowler in the Test series who managed to achieve a little bit of success on occasions. The Tigers were also missing opener Tamim Iqbal, who was carrying an injury. It meant Bangladesh had to play without two key players.
In the first ODI at De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberly last week, the pitch was a dead-rubber. Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat first. They made a steady start and were slowly advancing towards a good total. Surprisingly, Shakib came out to bat at No 3 and scored 29 runs. The in-form Mushfiqur Rahim struck a brilliant hundred but unfortunately none of the other batsmen were able to bat long around him. Apart from Mushfiq, four batsmen crossed the 20-run mark but none were able to build their innings after getting set. And the result was, Bangladesh posted a moderate 278, probably 50 short of their desired total.
Later, South Africa openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock registered a world record opening stand of 279 and destroyed the Bangladesh bowling. All the bowlers were clueless while defending the total as the Proteas openers just dominated in almost every over. Bowling looked terribly wrong for Bangladesh that day and no doubt, the Tigers were missing Mustafizur out there.
The second ODI at Boland Park in Paarl last week was absolutely dominated by the majestic AB de Villiers. De Villiers just returned to international cricket after taking a break and in his very first innings, he smashed a career best 176 off just 104 deliveries. Once again, AB proved why he is considered one of the most destructive batsman in world cricket. South Africa put up 353 on the board and Bangladesh were eventually bowled out for 249. Top-order batsman Imrul Kayes and Mushfiq scored fifties but Bangladesh were technically not in the game throughout their innings.
Tamim played in the second ODI but once again, he was ruled out from the remainder of the tour due to the same thigh muscle injury.
The third ODI at Buffalo Park in East London Sunday was also frustrating as the Tigers yet again folded for just 179 chasing 370, suffering a humiliating 200-run loss.
Bowling was particularly poor for Bangladesh as the bowlers managed to take only 12 wickets in three ODIs. Mashrafe remained wicketless throughout the whole series, which has happened only once in his career, in 2008. Among the batsmen, only Mushfiq was in good touch as he scored one century and as many half-century. Shakib and Imrul also made one fifty each but that was surely not enough to beat a time like South Africa.
Overall, Bangladesh did not perform as a team, which cost them heavily. Pace bowlers struggled the most as it was clear that Bangladesh bowling still has a long way to go in away series’.
One thrashing loss after another in the tour of South Africa gave a reality check to Bangladesh. It was a tough learning period for many players. Hopefully Bangladesh can learn something from the tour and play better in future when they visit a tough place like South Africa.
282/0 in 42.5 overs (De Kock 168*, Amla 110*) beat Bangladesh
278/7 (Mushfiq 110*, Rabada 4/43) by 10 wickets
249 in 47.5 overs (Imrul 68, Mushfiq 60) lost to South Africa
353/6 (De Villiers 176, Amla 85) by 104 runs
169 in 40.4 overs (Shakib 63, Sabbir 39) lost to South Africa
369/6 (Du Plessis 91*, De Kock 73) by 200 runs