First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
After having seen Bangladesh cruise through the ODIs, it was time for some T20 action. Bangladesh were on top after completing what Athar Ali Khan termed "Banglawash" against the Kiwis. Most people would have expected Bangladesh to be favourites for the T20 game as well, but looking at their track record in the shortest format, I wasn't too sure. I expected New Zealand to put on a fight at the end of their tour. I was 55% sure New Zealand would take this one home.
Bangladesh. After whitewashing New Zealand in back-to-back series, they had made their fans very proud.
Very easily, Colin Munro. He displayed some brilliant power-hitting, with shots all around the ground. He took advantage of the below-par bowling and the batting-friendly pitch and tore through the Bangladeshi bowling. He remained not out with a hefty 73 off 39 balls at the end of the innings.
One thing I'd have changed
Reflecting back at the game, there were a couple of things that I would have liked to change. Perhaps the sitter that Al-Amin Hossain dropped in the first over, off Mashrafe Mortaza, to let off Anton Devcich, who went on to blast a fifty off 24 deliveries, or maybe those pointless shots early in the Bangladesh innings that got Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque out. But if I had to pick only one, it would very simply be the result of the game.
Sixes, fours and dropped catches were abundant in this match. The wow moment for me was the blunder Tim Southee made of a catch off his own bowling. He let the ball brush his fingers, giving Sohag Gazi a life. It caught me by surprise, since the New Zealanders are known to be fit fielders.
Southee bowled near the boundary where I was seated, and after having dropped that catch, he was jeered by the spectators.
Shot of the day
With nearly 400 runs scored in 40 overs, there were quite a few remarkable shots played. A treat to watch was Mominul's only six, which was timed oh so sweetly. But the obvious winner would be Munro's switch hit off Mahmudullah that went for a huge six over cover. It left the crowd speechless for a moment.
ODI or Twenty20?
I would rate the ODI format ahead of T20s, which are condensed versions of ODIs. All the action and excitement seems to be squeezed into 40 overs and the game does not pan out naturally. Nerves are sky high, and you are constantly on the edge of your seats. However, it is great entertainment once in a while. The ODI, on the other hand, true to its name, gives you day-long entertainment. It is long enough for the momentum to shift from one team to the other and back, giving you the chance to watch quality cricket - something difficult to do in T20s.
Banner of the day
One banner that caught my eye read: "Bangladesh needs to play more ODIs and Tests in a calendar year". The man who wrote it was spot-on. With obvious improvement in the quality of cricket played by Bangladesh in recent times, it could only be better for them to play more.
9.5. Having watched innumerable games at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, I wonder if there will ever be a day when the experience is not breathtaking, and if the passion of the Bangladeshis will ever cease to sweep me off my feet. Win or loss, the people are always there, cheering their team on. Thanks to Bangladesh's three wins in a row, this day was even better and the fact that Bangladesh had lost was not disappointing.
I even had the good fortune of meeting one of the rising talents of Bangladesh - Taskin Ahmed. During the BPL he had shown promise as a fast bowler, and I sincerely hope to see him in the national team soon.
A surprise was in store for the crowd as the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, walked out to the ground to give away the series awards.
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