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Tigers inspired before series decider

  • Published at 03:17 pm December 13th, 2018
Bangladesh cricketers Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Mushfiqur Rahim Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Bangladesh have won the first match of the series at Mirpur but the visitors clinched their first win of the tour and bounced back in the series in the second ODI at the same venue

Bangladesh will play the series deciding one-day international Friday against visiting West Indies and the occasion could become more memorable as inspirational captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza could be playing his last international match in home soil on a ground that is going to stage its first ODI. 

Bangladesh won the first match of the series at Mirpur but the visitors clinched their first win of the tour and bounced back in the series in the second ODI at the same venue. 

It is being widely speculated in the cricketing fraternity that Bangladesh’s ODI skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza may retire after the World Cup in England next year and if he does so, this match will remain his last home ODI. 

Mashrafe may or may not retire but Bangladesh’s most successful captain in history will definitely make a record if he goes to the toss today as this will be the 70th occasion of him leading the country in an ODI match, surpassing Habibul Bashar’s 69. 

Today’s match will also be his 200th ODI for Bangladesh, the first person to reach the milestone. He is also Bangladesh’s highest wicket–taker in the format and he played two other ODIs for Asia XI in his illustrious career. 

However, the 35-year old, who has already led the side in a record 39 ODI wins, thought the pride of representing his country is most important for him. 

“It is a matter of pride for me and my family,” the skipper said at a press conference in Sylhet on Thursday. 

“I have led Bangladesh for a long time and no feeling is better than this. If I take the field on Friday I will have the chance to captain the side for most number of times in ODI’s for Bangladesh. It will be great feeling for me. But to me, the important thing is to be one of the eleven in the side. It is a great pride for me to remain as one of the members of Bangladesh side,” Mashrafe expressed. 

Mashrafe is not only the most successful captain in Bangladesh’s history but since he took the helm back in late 2014 the side has transformed from underachievers to become a force to be reckoned with. 

Mashrafe, who has gone through innumerable injuries in his career after making his debut back in 2001, took the responsibility of ODI captain back in October 2014 against Zimbabwe. 

He did not only help the side, which was winless in that year till that series win, but also made it almost an unbeatable one at home. 

As a matter of fact, Bangladesh have lost only one bilateral ODI series- against England in 2016, at home under Mashrafe while beating cricketing giants like India, Pakistan and South Africa. 

Mashrafe’s side will definitely be inspired to keep the home success and they will be more inspired by the fact that they beat the same opponents away from home in a similar situation after winning the final match of the series, earlier this year. 

However, their opponents will also have some inspiration as the Caribbean side last won a bilateral ODI series back in 2014 at Bangladesh. 

Despite having the home advantage Bangladesh will feature in the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium for the first time as the picturesque ground is going to stage its first ODI. 

The most verdant country of the ground, which has the capacity of 18,500 after a renovation in 2013, has hosted its debut Test in October and staged as many as seven T20I’s including six matches of the World T20 in 2014.

Touring New Zealand team declined the offer of playing an ODI match here back in 2013 before Sri Lanka did the same in 2014. 

At last the ground is going to come full circle of hosting international cricket matches of all three formats. But Bangladesh have yet to win in an international game here, having lost the only Test against Zimbabwe and also losing to Sri Lanka in a T20I, early in this year. 

So, the Tigers will have some history in their favor but also some against it, when they take on the Windies in what is expected to be a tantalizing contest.

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