March 31, 2014
Choice of game
I came all the way from New York to watch the World T20 from the stadium in Dhaka, because I felt I should cheer for Bangladesh from the stands. I could only manage one week off from work and classes. The Bangladesh v Pakistan match was the third match for the teams in first round and the last one for me in the stadium for this World T20. If Bangladesh had won this match, there may have been slight hope for them. But it was an important game for Pakistan to win because then their match against West Indies would a knock-out for the semis. I really hoped Bangladesh would win, because I wanted to watch a victorious performance from the ground. But considering their recent performances, I would have been happy with a closely fought match too. However, Bangladesh's miserable performance was not unexpected at all.
I would like to see Sri Lanka win the trophy because of the number of times they have choked in finals. After the consecutive losses in 2007, 2009, 2012 finals, Sri Lanka deserve to win an ICC trophy, at least for players like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, since this is their last T20 appearance.
This one is obviously Ahmed Shehzad for his blistering knock. His batting was a treat to watch. If I had been a neutral fan, I would love to watch this type of pure footwork and timing. Pakistani fans often compare Shehzad with Virat Kohli. Their faces resemble and Shehzad is a class player like Kohli. All he needs is to be as consistent as the Indian batsman. He scored his century off 58 balls but there was no power-hitting or T20 hitting at all. It was all technique and perfect timing with sheer elegance. His innings reminded me the Asia Cup match that Bangladesh lost after scoring 326 runs. Remember, Shehzad was the foundation maker of Pakistan's chase.
Abdur Razzak gave Bangladesh fans something to cheer about with his two early wickets.
Things I'd have changed about the match
I would have liked to do something about Mushfiqur Rahim's negative captaincy and wicketkeeping. When Bangladesh had Pakistan at 71 for 3, with an out-of-form Shoaib Malik walking into bat, Mushfiqur should have attacked him by bringing one or two close-in fielders. Instead, he stuck to his pre-planned defensive fielding set-up and gave the Pakistan batsmen chances to score singles easily and get set. His glovework is also not up to the mark nowadays. He gave two consecutive byes for four against India off Shakib Al Hasan's bowling and some free byes yesterday as well. The crowd around me was also furious with him when he conceded a bye. People were roaring, "Give the gloves to Anamul". Also, Mashrafe Mortaza has never been a good death-overs bowler. I would have given the 19th over to Mahmudullah instead of Mortaza.
Ziaur Rahman was fielding at fine leg when Kamran Akmal swept Razzak in his first over. When the ball was in the air, a neighbouring spectator predicted the catch would be dropped. But Rahman dived and pulled off a stunner.
I was in the Shaheed Mushtaq stand and Nasir Hossain was fielding in front of me at long-off. He dropped a sitter from Shoaib Maqsood and crowd was absolutely furious at him. One of the spectators took off his sandals and showed them threateningly to Nasir. Luckily, since it was the penultimate ball of the innings it did not cost that much. It was the over after Mortaza had conceded 24 runs, with a catch taken off a no-ball. The crowd was obviously disappointed. The same thing happened when Shoaib Malik dropped a sitter off Shakib at the same position. This time the crowd erupted and cheered for Shakib. But Shakib couldn't cash in, surviving only two more balls after that.
In our stands, there were some Pakistani fans. When the Pakistani fans started shouting, "Pakistan Pakistan", the rest of the crowd started chanting, "Bhua, bhua" meaning "not good". Sunday is a working day in Bangladesh. The match started at 3.30pm, so the gallery only filled up after the first ten overs. Shakib got the biggest cheers, but so did Shahid Afridi, when he came to bat. However, the roar was bigger when he was dismissed.
ODI v Twenty20
In terms of quality cricket, ODI is better than T20, but for the globalisation of cricket, T20 is the most effective one. Although, I am doubtful whether the "big three" want cricket to be globalised.
It was a pretty disappointing match for me. Shehzad's classy batting was a treat, but I couldn't enjoy it since it was against Bangladesh. Their fielding was poor, and there were no spirit and intention to win the game. Pakistan were clinical. I enjoyed the atmosphere around the field. People had mixed emotions. They were disappointed because of Bangladesh's performance, but they cheered whenever they got a chance. They made fun of the players, and were entertained by them. It was a great experience to watch the diverse emotion of the fans.
Marks out of 10
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