Bangladesh’s emphatic five-wicket win over the West Indies in Dublin was nothing short of a big statement as the 10-year multi-nation final jinx was broken
Bangladesh’s first multi-nation tournament win should cut short the frustrations the side have experienced over the last 10 years.
During this time, the Tigers played six finals consisting at least three teams, but on all the occasions, the glory had slipped away.
Bangladesh’s emphatic five-wicket win over the West Indies in Dublin therefore was nothing short of a big statement as the jinx was broken.
It was only last year Bangladesh had played two finals – in the Nidahas Trophy in March, followed by the Asia Cup in Dubai in September and four times prior to that – starting with the tri-nation series final in Dhaka in 2009.
On most occasions, the Tigers had the opposition on the ropes only to give it away just at the near end.
Against Sri Lanka in 2009, Bangladesh were on top, leaving the opposition reeling on six runs for the loss of five wickets, only to find Muttiah Muralitharan produce a cameo and snatch the win away from the Tigers.
In 2012, the Tigers made it to an Asia Cup final for the first time in history, but lost it by just two runs against Pakistan to break the hearts of the nation.
In the Asia Cup 2016 final, they lost to India by a convincing margin of eight wickets.
Ahead of the Champions Trophy in 2017, Bangladesh took on New Zealand and host Ireland in a tri-series affair, and finished second in the table with eight 10 points, two points behind the Kiwis.
In 2018, Bangladesh met India twice in finals.
In the Nidahas Trophy, India shattered Bangladesh’s dream, chasing 34 off the last two overs in the T20I affair.
Six months later in the Asia Cup 2018 final, the game had again gone to the last over, this time too India emerged victorious, while Bangladesh bagged yet another heartbroken memory.
All these experiences however, made Bangladesh only more determined and with just weeks to go to the World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, they broke the drought.
This will surely make the Tigers fearless heading into the mega event.
One for Mashrafe
Rumors of Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza nearing the end of his career are doing the rounds.
The 35-year old right-arm pacer undoubtedly emerged as the most successful captain for the Tigers in the format, and adding a multi-nation trophy under his belt was long due.
The Tigers have played 77 ODIs under Mashrafe and won 44 times to maintain a staggering 58.66% winning rate.
Heading to the tour of the United Kingdom for the tri-series, followed by the World Cup, it was expected from Mashrafe that he would make the best use of a team that is being considered as the best of recent times.
The Tigers captain passed his first assignment with distinction.
He led the team for the ICC flagship event in the best manner possible; lifting their maiden multi-nation series trophy remaining unbeaten, and adding a feather to his illustrious international career.
Going into the World Cup
The tri-series against the Windies and host Ireland was Bangladesh’s platform to prepare for the World Cup, set to begin in England at the end of this month.
And nothing could be better than the side remaining unbeaten and lifting the trophy.
Prior to their departure, the Tigers had plans to draft the playing XI in Ireland with a mixture of established players and experiments.
But the intention of playing only those players who will play the world event was crystal clear.
Perhaps the Bangladesh think-tank stuck to the basic of giving the main players maximum match time, those who have been part of the blue-print for around six months now.
Coming of age of the young ones
The argument of the Bangladesh team yielding success off the shoulders of the seniors is a common one.
Occasions have been ample in the recent and distant past.
However, the Tigers Friday ruled the roost riding on the heroics of the young bloods.
Chasing a mammoth total of 210 runs in 24 overs in a curtailed affair, Bangladesh were given a ferocious start by opener Soumya Sarkar.
The left-handed batsman punished the opposition bowlers with a fiery 66 off 56 balls.
The Windies bowlers had bounced back as Bangladesh were struggling on 143 for the loss of five wickets in 22 overs.
The Tigers needed another 27 from 18 balls when new batsman Mosaddek Hossain took charge.
The middle-order batsman registered struck five sixes and two fours in his unbeaten 24-ball 52 and guided the Tigers to glory.
Performance a relief
The performance of the batsmen means the Bangladesh selection panel will heave a big sigh of relief.
The Tigers chased down their targets in Ireland on all four instances and never lost more than five wickets to get to the destination.
The best result produced was winning the first game of the tournament, by eight wickets chasing 262 against the Windies.
In-form Soumya reigned supreme scoring three consecutive half-centuries to score a total of 193 runs in three games with a staggering average of 64.33.
In four matches, Tamim Iqbal totaled 176 backed with two half-centuries, followed by Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib al Hasan with 166 and 144 respectively.
On two occasions, the opening stand put on more than 100 - 144 between Tamim and Soumya in their first encounter against the Windies and 117 between Tamim and Liton Das against Ireland when the sides met for the second time.
Given the conditions, the pacers were expected to do the most work and it was clearly evident as Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe bagged six wickets apiece.
However, it was Abu Jayed who emerged as the talk of the town with his maiden five-wicket haul against Ireland, in just his second ODI appearance.
The Taskin-Jayed dilemma
Right-arm pacer Jayed registered his first five-wicket haul in his second ODI appearance.
The performance was enough to take the ball in his court and ensure that he is carried with the team to the World Cup.
The Tigers had carried a 19-member team to Ireland with the intention of picking the best performers, and Jayed made the best use of it.
Right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed, backed by his experience, was in consideration over Jayed for the world event.
But as it happened, an under pressure Jayed made his cut through to the team and Taskin had to catch the flight back to Dhaka.Abu