Choice of game
Bangladesh had to win their final two league stage matches to have any chance of making the semi-finals. With the World Cup craze on, I flew all the way from New York to the UK hoping to watch Bangladesh win these matches. Sadly, that didn't happen. But other than the odd mistake, watching Bangladesh's fighting spirit was worthy enough.
As a neutral fan it's lovely to watch Rohit Sharma. Tamim Iqbal's drop gave the spectators a chance to watch Rohit in sublime form. Mustafizur Rahman returned to the attack in the 24th over and Rohit drove him for a straight six, and all of us went 'whoa'.
Mustafizur's last spell was superb. The double-wicket maiden, in which he got Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, stopped India from a potential 350+ score. After conceding 34 runs in his first five, he picked up five wickets for 25 in his remaining overs.
Things I would have changed
Definitely Tamim's missed catch that gave Rohit a reprieve. That defined the match. And for a Bangladesh fan, the way Soumya Sarkar got out was painful to watch. It was short outside the off stump, and he hit the ball straight to Kohli at extra cover!
It wasn't the best of days for the most experienced players on both sides: Mashrafe Mortaza and MS Dhoni. It was disappointing to watch Mashrafe's in the field. Dhoni steered a four past him at point, and Mashrafe barely moved. And he switched positions right after. It was hard to take for a Mashrafe lover.
Dhoni is no longer the great ODI finisher that he once was. When he refused singles off Mustafizur's first two balls of the final over and then got out on the third, quite a few India fans commented that it was time for him to retire.
Two superfans of India and Bangladesh, Sudhir Gautam and Tiger Shoaib entered the ground together hand in hand. Even Pakistan fan Chacha Cricket was around. We play sport for this unity, not to make enemies. It was lovely to watch. .
Banner of the day
There were quite a few. The pro-Bangladesh banner which caught my eye was, "With Mashrafe's leadership, Fizz will cut the opponent, Mushfiqur will give the dependency and Shakib, the number one, will conquer!". Oh, how I wish.
I really wanted to see Bangladesh win the match. Only if some "ifs" were not there. There will be some regrets that we will have till the next World Cup. Hopefully a win against Pakistan will be a consolation. If Bangladesh can nurture the new generation of players like Liton Das, Soumya, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mustafizur well, them along with the experienced trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim could be serious World Cup contenders in 2023.
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