First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
After failing to get tickets for the Khulna ODIs, and seeing what my team had done there, the seven-hour wait in line for tickets to this match seemed a worthy investment. Also, it would have been difficult to get tickets for the next two ODIs, scheduled over the weekend, and I did not want to miss a possible series win for Bangladesh here.
Bangladesh. I've watched too many West Indies games in Mirpur anyway.
Marlon Samuels, who scored more than the aggregate of the rest of his top and middle order plus the 20 extras. He flowed freely during the Powerplays, fought it out through a testing phase of spin bowling, survived at least three close calls, and decided a 100-over contest in just one.
One thing I'd have changed
One change in the Bangladesh XI. I (and I bet thousands of others) missed our Superman Shakib dearly. Granted, his supposed replacement", Mominul Haque, has shown glimpses of his mettle with bat and ball over the last three ODIs, but in a game that went as close as this, we just didn't have the difference-making player in the side.
Face-off you relished
Ravi Rampaul used the new ball and the two-bouncers rule to snort a few past Tamim Iqbal's throat, and caught him on the shoulder of the bat and gloves as well. But Tamim flicked and punched him for back-to-back boundaries when he got the ball in the zone.
Anamul Haque, till then playing a rather subdued role, hooked Darren Sammy for a six in the 12th over. His calm and calculated style of batting made the shot look like he had pulled a rabbit out of a hat.
Tamim fielded in front of our gallery for a large portion of the West Indies innings, but was not received well by the crowd, especially after he reacted late to a shot and then let another couple go without so much as moving in the ball's direction. However, one valiant save was all it took for him to regain the crowd's support.
Sunil Narine, fielding near us during the first innings, was given directions to Narayanganj, a small city close to Dhaka, and told that Tamim and Mahmudullah would send his deliveries there.
Shots of the day
Over 45, West Indies innings. Marlon Samuels facing Rubel Hossain: short outside off - slash! Full on off - thwack! Fullish on middle-leg - crash! Good length just outside off - swing and a miss! Full on middle-leg - Tonk! Fast and full, but not full enough - wallop! Twenty four off six balls, thank you very much, save your series celebrations, see you on Friday!
After a composed 47, Kieran Powell charged down the track to Mahmudullah, felt nothing but thin air on his bat, and marched on towards the dugout. Only when he was nearly at the edge of the 30-yard circle did he look back at Mushfiqur, who had waited for Powell to turn before removing the bail. Never have I seen a batsman stranded at that position in the field when stumped.
It took a little while for the stands to fill up, but long before sundown and office-closing hours, Mirpur was throbbing. Even though there were tense periods for Bangladesh fans throughout the game, the energy stayed high, the DJ got his music right, and every Mexican wave passed around for a few rounds before the spectators broke into applause. However, the end of the fateful 45th over saw a lot of preemptive exits.
The tiger-stripe painted faces and torsos were a common sight, as were the witch hats (I don't get the relevance of those), but a giant-size paper mask of a very well-drawn tiger on a kid's face, along with paper paws for his hands, stood out.
A good, well-fought contest. High-quality spin bowling from both sides, strong comebacks from both sides while bowling, and a flurry of boundaries were the big positives. The not-so-great part would include the rather sloppy fielding and the 46 extras. Samuels was the big difference between the two sides today.
Marks out of 10
From a Bangladesh point of view: 7. The fast bowlers were mostly listless, the ground fielding and catching was below par, and the top order did not play according to plan. Full marks to Abdur Razzak and Sohag Gazi, though, for keeping the match alive, and to Mominul for playing the small-but-interesting role of "surprise bowler" at the death. Samuels was a perfect ten, but the rest of the West Indians, except Narine, disappointed. A good contest nonetheless, so the match could score 8.5.
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