So far, Bangladesh have featured in five World Cups with the 1999 edition being the Tigers’ first ever appearance at the quadrennial mega event. From being happy to simply participate in a World Cup to having the ambition to knockout whichever opposition they face, Bangladesh have undergone huge changes in mentality over the years and grown as a team. With the 2019 World Cup soon to get underway, the The Daily Star’s Nabid Yeasin outlined the highlights of the five editions that the Tigers’ have featured in below.
1999: The entire nation’s dreams came true when Aminul Islam stepped onto the County Ground in Chelmsford for the coin toss alongside Stephen Fleming of New Zealand in what was Bangladesh’s maiden World Cup match. Given that Bangladesh were happy to just participate in the tournament, the two wins they secured not only provided a huge confidence boost but also pushed forward the country’s cricketing journey. In that edition, Bangladesh registered their first ever World Cup win against Scotland, who have never been considered as a powerhouse of the sport. The Tigers then shocked the world when they convincingly defeated a full strength Pakistan by 62 runs to end their campaign on a high note. It was also Bangladesh’s first win against a Test playing nation, which made things easier when the side requested Test status later on.
2003: Till date, the 2003 World Cup remains to be the Tigers’ most abysmal campaign. So much so in fact that even the players who were a part of the squad fail to recall any good memories of that edition. Perhaps though the words of Habibul Bashar, for whom it was the first time featuring at the World Cup, provides a glimpse of how much the Tiger’s suffered. “Whenever I think about that World Cup, I can only recall bad memories,” said Bashar, who is currently a national selector. While the big margin defeats against Sri Lanka (10 wickets), South Africa (10 wickets) and New Zealand (seven wickets) could somehow be acceptable given Bangladesh’s strength at the time, the 60-run defeat against Canada and the 32-run loss against Kenya showed that changes needed to be made to the team.
2007: It could be said that the ‘fearless’ version of the Tigers first appeared when Habibul Bashar led Bangladesh to a five-wicket win over India at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad. According to players and experts alike, the Tigers’ displayed their best ever cricket at the 2007 edition. In that match, Bangladesh became a team that no longer relied on the opposition’s mistakes but rather created their own chances when an 18-year-old Tamim Iqbal went down the track to hit Zaheer Khan -- one of the most feared and experienced pacers at the time -- for a huge six over midwicket. To knock India out in the group stage and make their way to the Super Eight for the first time, following a victory over the mighty South Africa by 67 runs no less, Bangladesh had turned into a force to be reckoned with.
2011: With Bangladesh co-hosting the tournament, the 2011 World Cup was expected to see the Tigers create some memories they could cherish for a long time. However, it was not to be as the they ended up making some memories they would really rather forget. Bangladesh were bundled out for 58 -- their lowest ever total in a World Cup -- against West Indies and capitulated for 78 runs -- their second lowest at the tournament -- against South Africa soon after. Although the Tigers did secure a two-wicket victory over England, the feat could not mask all the disappointments of that edition of the World Cup.
2015: When Rubel Hossain knocked the stumps off England right-arm quick James Anderson at the Adelaide Oval, Bangladesh had not only just registered a 15-run victory but also knocked the Three Lions out of the tournament as they marched towards their first ever quarterfinal in the World Cup. Result-wise, that edition of the World Cup remains to be the best one for the Tigers so far. Bangladesh had started that edition by defeating Afghanistan, who were playing in their first World Cup, by a whopping 105 runs. However, while a 109-run defeat against India in the quarterfinal was not what fans expected after such a brilliant tournament, Bangladesh had to remain content with such an end.