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Five times when Bangladesh snatched defeat from the jaws of victory

Image result for mushfiqur rahim celebration
Aditya Joshi

Bangladesh have been one of the rather fast-tracked nations into the international cricketing scenario, and while they struggled to live up to the recognition of their immense potential shown initially, in the recent times they have come into their own and are no longer easy push-overs, be it any format of the game.

Be it the thrilling rout of England in the 2015 World Cup group stage match, or the come from behind win to stun a confident New Zealand in the must-win 2017 Champions Trophy match to book a berth in semi-finals, Bangladesh clearly have the knack to go on to the path to become one of the better sides around the world.

While there clearly have been lots of silver linings, their journey in recent times has been marred by occasions where either due to overly confident temperament or having their nerves succumb to the enormity of the stakes, they have faltered to lose crucial matches from winning positions.

We look at five such instances when Bangladesh got strangled into their own web of panic to lose encounters they could have won, but ended up choking in instead.


#5 Lost by 3 runs versus Windies at Guyana, 2018

Bangladesh fell short, yet again, after being in the driver's seat for the majority of the match
Bangladesh fell short, yet again, after being in the driver's seat for the majority of the match

Having gone 1-0 up in the series against the hosts after a dismal Test series, Bangladesh looked in a great position to give that lead an unassailable increment. After restricting the West Indies to 271, they got off to a flyer, the openers Anamul Haque and Tamim Iqbal ricocheting them to 70 runs off just 7 overs.

But once the powerplay ended, Tamim just went into his shell, letting the Windies bowlers dictate the pace of the match by allowing them to bowl dot balls on defensive lines. Despite that, a strong show from the middle order gave them a sure chance in the match and it all came down to 14 needed off 2 overs with 6 wickets in hand.

And that is when they were smothered by their own lack of self belief, Keemo Paul and Jason Holder, Windies' most ineffective bowlers so far, exploited the slowness of the surface and with the aid of some well aimed yorkers, they did not allow Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman to get under ball whatsoever.

And like the one haunted memory of 2016, which we get to later, Rahman and Rahim holed out on consecutive deliveries, boundaries dried up all of a sudden, panic set in and all of a sudden they needed 5 runs off the last ball.

No anti-climaxes would come as Bangladesh fell short, yet again, after being in the driver's seat for the majority of the match.

#4 Lost by 2 runs, versus Pakistan at Dhaka, 2012

Bangladesh managed to relinquish the Asia Cup by taking a single off the last ball which demanded a boundary instead
Bangladesh managed to relinquish the Asia Cup by taking a single off the last ball which demanded a boundary instead

In their first ever chance of a shot at everlasting glory, Bangladesh were all set to upset Pakistan to win their maiden Asia Cup, having meted out the same treatment to India and Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament.

Abdur Razzak and Shakib al Hasan kept a power packed Pakistani batting to 9/236. In the chase, they did display nerves and tendencies to succumb to the occasion, most of that evident from an overly cautious start. Despite that, they were rescued to a winning position once again, helped by Shakib's clever batting.

A late assault by Mashrafe Mortaza had them needing 25 off 3 overs, which meant that even though they just managed to play out Saeed Ajmal, they needed only 9 off the last 6 balls to lay hands on their first major title.

But Pakistan's Aizaz Cheema had rather different plans. His assortment of slower deliveries and gripping cutters were way too much for the hosts to process and as they dug out yorker after yorker, gathering runs via running only was never going to do the trick and from a virtually unbeatable position, Bangladesh managed to relinquish the Asia Cup by taking a single off the last ball which demanded a boundary instead.

#3 Lost by 47 runs versus India at Dhaka, 2014

I
India
were
bowled out for 105, then Stuart Binny happened!

Bangladesh had beaten India prior to this, among some other notable sides, but the way they set up things for themselves in the second ODI, it seemed like the first time they would completely outplay one of the bigger fish in a manner so comprehensive that it would be nothing short of historic.

Taskin Ahmed swung the ball with immaculate control, sending a second string Indian batting led by Suresh Raina into a frenzy of helplessness as they were bowled out for just 105, and the second innings execution of the chase remained a mere formality in the humiliation of the visitors.

Then Stuart Binny happened.

Instead of playing out the tricky phase of the innings, Bangladesh tried the old ruse of knocking off the runs early in a low scoring encounter and in a little over two hours after bowling out India for one of their worst ODI performances, they were left ruing their own batting approach.

Four batsmen couldn't get off the mark, other four did not make it into double figures as Bangladesh had the mother of all brain fades, their swinging of bat at dramatically hooping deliveries sent the spectators and viewers across the country in great magnitudes of shock as they were bowled out for 58, Binny taking 6 wickets for 4 runs.

#2 Lost by 3 wickets versus Australia at Fatullah, 2006

Their spinners toiled all day long but could not have their way around Ricky Ponting
Their spinners toiled all day long but could not have their way around Ricky Ponting

Back when Australia's domination reigned across the world and teams turned up against them rather than competing, Bangladesh had one of the most successful sides in Test history at their mercy. Only in their stages of infancy in Test cricket, they amassed 427 runs in the first innings of the first Test.

The most remarkable feature being the dismantling of some spinner called Shane Warne, as they took his 20 overs for 112 runs.

Bangladesh then made the most of their scoreboard one upmanship, reducing Australia to 6/93. An Adam Gilchrist counterattack of measure ferocity was not enough as Australia gave Bangladesh a first innings lead of 158 runs.

As always, the hosts were taken over by the euphoria of the possibilities as they crashed to 148 all out, eight wickets coming from batsmen failing to put bat on ball.

Despite two phases of not making enough of the advantage, Bangladesh had 307 runs to play with and on a subcontinental track, that might as well be 3007 runs. Their spinners toiled all day long but could not have their way around Ricky Ponting, whose unbeaten 118 got Australia a nervous three-wicket victory.

Bangladesh, had yet again, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

#1 Lost by 1 run versus India at Bengaluru, 2016

2 off 3
2
off
3!

In an era where England receive flak for not batting at 10 runs an over in an ODI, where batsmen feel safe needing 50 off anything close to 20 balls, Bangladesh endured perhaps the worst ever finish to a T20I innings.

In the Super 10 match of the 2016 World T20, they had the best chance to tilt the bragging rights in the rivalry in their favour as they kept India to just 7/146 in their first innings.

Going out to chase the meager target, they had the added mental incentive of knocking the hosts out of the tournament if they managed to beat them. Some frenetic batting and some needless strokes brought down the equation to 11 needed from the last over, and more importantly, Dhoni had to bowl out his two best death bowlers earlier in desperation.

As Mushfiqur had the second and third ball of the over crashing to the boundary, he started leaping mid-pitch in the ecstasy of what his side was about to achieve, now that they needed just two runs off three deliveries.

2 off 3.

The equation the Bangladeshis will never forget.

Mushfiqur went for the glory shot, holed out instead. Next ball Mahmudullah committed the same folly, somehow expecting a different result. A wide of length last ball left Mustafizur Rahman and Shuvagata Hom gasping for breath to out-run MS Dhoni but that was never to be.

Three wickets off the last three balls and Bangladesh had perished in the most saddening of fashions.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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