Bangladesh lost their rare bout against World champions Australia by a margin of 48 runs at Trent Bridge yesterday. The defeat certainly served as a blow to Bangladesh’s dream for a place in the semifinals of the World Cup.
But did they fare badly against the mighty Aussies? Definitely not. Chasing a massive 382 to win, they fought gamely until the 40th over before lagging behind the stiff upward graph which saw the Aussies plunder 131 runs in the last ten overs. It was a gap too far to bridge for the Tigers.
However, the Tigers must be credited for keeping the fans on the edge of their seats till the 46th over with Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim plotting a heist much to the discomfort of the famed Australian bowling attack. But once Mahmudullah was dismissed, attempting a six over mid-wicket, Bangladesh fell agonizingly short of yet another daredevil run-chase after their famous victory against West Indies.
Bangladesh finished on 333 for eight, their highest score in one-dayers. It was an achievement in itself and would augur well in the future because it gave the skilled Bangladesh batting unit the belief that they are quite capable of chasing down 350.
It was probably the most entertaining of run-fests in the World Cup so far.
And had the Tigers not made some small mistakes throughout the game, it could have been a closer one. It also a lesson the Tigers learned the hard way, that against top teams like Australia, you can ill afford those slips.
Australia opener David Warner smashed a blistering 166 to set the tone for a massive total of 381 for eight. The experienced left-hander was dropped at backward point when he was 10. He escaped another run out chance when he was on 70. The fielder on both occasions was Sabbir Rahman. It can happen and is very much part of the game. Sabbir was one of the better fielders in the Tigers’ ranks. But at the same time, it was lesson for an otherwise half-baked Bangladesh fielding unit that they need to improve a lot in this department.
Australia also did not field well in the match, they leaked a few runs but it was a rare sight for the otherwise supremely athletic Aussies. Among the four sub-continental teams, Sri Lankan fielding was once world class. Recently, India have set a new benchmark for athleticism on the field under the leadership of Virat Kohli.
Bangladesh’s athleticism in fielding has never been something to be excited about. Their fielding is more emotionally charged than based on pure skill and athleticism. There are a few brilliant fielders in the Bangladesh camp but unfortunately, they have got more bad legs than good ones.
This is an area Bangladesh are yet to excel in despite their massive improvements in batting and, to some extent, bowling.
In yesterday’s match Rubel Hossain hit the bull’s eye from short fine leg to dismiss Glenn Maxwell but by that time the right-hander had done enough damage.
Australia captain Aron Finch also hit the bull’s eye to see the back of Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarker. And his effort effectively dashed Bangladesh’s prospect of a flying start in a big chase.
It is very important for the fielding unit to back up the bowling. Bangladesh’s bowling buckled under pressure against Australia yesterday, however, had the fielding backed the bowling in desperate times, it might have been a different story for the Tigers.