First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
I chose this game because it was against an alien Pakistan side - not because the players wear green, but because they have had an incredible run of late - and the Twenty20 was Bangladesh's best chance to get ahead in what appears to be a steep, steep series. Also, Tuesday is my day off at work.
Bangladesh, with Pakistan being my second favourite.
Face-off you relished
Hafeez versus Shakib, the two ace men in respective sides. It wasn't much of a contest though, and had relish-appeal only for Bangladesh fans. Shakib tied Hafeez down for five dot-balls and then forced a false shot to get a wicket-maiden .
Mohammad Hafeez top-scored for his side, finished with 2 for 11 and effected a run-out.
Meanwhile, Nasir Hossain, on the eve of his 20th birthday, fell four short of scoring the aggregate of the rest of his team. He displayed technique, batting with good temperament and not getting unnerved by the steady fall of wickets at the other end. A valiant effort, albeit in a sorry cause.
One thing I'd have changed
I'd like to know what was said at the Bangladesh team huddle before the match. To be more particular, to find out what prompted the genius decision of packing the side with six allrounders and one specialist batsman. It made sense at a level only a few can comprehend.
Shoaib Malik's dismissal was special because it was off a full-toss, which, in other circumstances would have been delivered right into my hands behind the long-on boundary, and because Abdur Razzak dived forward to take the return catch near his boot-laces. Spectacular!
Umar Gul dropped a sitter gift-wrapped his way by Nasir Hossain in the 12th over, right in front of where I was sat. It produced the loudest cheer from our part of the stands.
Shot of the day
Shahid Afridi got off the mark by hitting Razzak way beyond long-off for a six.
Disappointment of the day
Farhad Reza could not have been more invisible in this match if he'd been wearing that Harry Potter cloak.
Mirpur is usually pulsating but there was very little to cheer in this match. The stands were packed, but there was a a lot of pre-emptive evacuation after the 15th over of the Bangladesh innings.
With food, beverages, radio headphones and horns on the not-allowed list, a friend's DSLR camera was the only gadget at hand, and it provided some cool multiple-burst-shots that I'm planning to turn into GIF images later on.
Banner of the day
I spotted a poster that said: "We'll Play, We'll Win, That's The Dream". However, I'm not sure if it was meant to be ironical.
A rude awakening for Bangladesh, especially for the batting unit. Also, they received a bitter taste of their own medicine - Pakistan's spinners took 5 for 52 in 14 overs, which is inexplicable considering the volume of spin bowling Bangladesh's batsmen face at nets.
Marks out of 10
8 for Pakistan (two points deducted for their batsmen) and 4.5 for Bangladesh (all going to the bowlers), so overall maybe a 7 for the game. There wasn't a lot of big hitting or inspiring turnarounds. It was not a match many will remember for long.
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