Bangladesh cricket and their unfinished legacy
Bangladesh cricket may be on the rise, but they still have not quite got to the pinnacle just yet. Although they have come a long way since their first ever international and have been quite competitive, they still haven't come to become favourites to win any tournament or against any of the top sides.
It doesn't take away the fact that Bangladesh has also been part of some historic wins and their players have bailed their team from some of the most hopeless situations. Whether it was through the experience of Tamim Iqbal, the captaincy of Habibul Bashar and Mashrafe Mortaza in different eras, the all-round abilities of Shakib Al-Hasan and Mahmudullah or the often forgotten under-rated exploits of Mushfiqur Rahim, the batsman.
In 2015, a shock elimination of England by Bangladesh in the World Cup followed by four consecutive series victory against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India and South Africa in ODIs, we were starting to witness the birth of a rejuvenated Bangladeshi side.
Bangladesh, since the time they beat India in 2007 World Cup and in 2012 Asia Cup, have had a perspective of being a mentally superior side than India. However, 2016 World T20 gave Bangladesh a reality check.
Needing 11 runs off the final over, the match was effectively in Bangladesh's pocket after scoring two boundaries off the second and third delivery. Some ecstatic premature celebrations and rash shots when all they needed was to nudge singles. Eventually, Bangladesh gifted India the win, falling short by a run.
Their legacy could've taken a brand new shape if one of their famous Test wins could've been set up against New Zealand in 2017. Shakib Al-Hasan's glorious double century in Wellington and his partnership with Mushfiqur Rahim lead Bangladesh to a mammoth total of 595. In reply, New Zealand conceded a lead of 56. However, Bangladesh failed to capitalize as they were bowled out for 160 and ended up setting New Zealand a paltry fourth innings target of 217, which they did so comfortably with seven wickets in hand.
Bangladesh had yet another strong showing in the Champions Trophy 2017. England were on the ropes against Bangladesh but created history as they became the first side to chase a 300+ total in Champions Trophy history. Shakib Al-Hasan's spectacular century in the virtual knockout match helped Bangladesh chase down a stiff target of 266 and knocked New Zealand out of the competition. The semi-final encounter with India was when they were brought back down to earth as India chased down the target comfortably.
In August 2017, Bangladesh reached yet another monumental landmark by securing their first ever Test win against Australia.
Bangladesh's crushing whitewash at the hands of Afghanistan and in the final of the 2018 Nidahas trophy against India was yet another evidence of Bangladesh's disrespect towards the opposition and premature celebrations. It was not only a lesson for the team but also their fans.
Bangladesh are at a point where it has been more than two decades since they have played their first international match, but, have still not transformed into a remarkably fearsome side. They have made giant strides in being the best side though but not enough to make them appear as the invincibles, even on their home soil.
Bangladesh's cricket and their legacy is far from finished, however, the question becomes - when will we stop calling a Bangladesh win against a top side an upset?