Tigers knock Kiwis out of Champions Trophy

Cardiff has been a happy hunting ground for Tigers from Bangladesh. It was here that they beat Australia in 2005 in Champions Trophy. On Friday they again scored a sensational victory over New Zealand

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Vikrant Jha

Bangladesh was truly down and out when they lost their fourth wicket in the 12th over with the scoreboard reading 33 for the loss of four wickets. It was a bowler friendly pitch and the target of 266 runs seemed unattainable. For the minnows it appeared to be all over and the Kiwis would have thought the rest of the match was just a formality when Mahmudullah Riyad joined veteran Shakib Al Hasan in the middle.

But what a turn-around it was. The pitch suddenly lost its bite and movement; and the two batsmen from Bangladesh in the middle displayed world class resilience at the beginning and masterclass hitting afterwards. Riyad and Shakib added together 224 runs for the fifth wicket, the highest ever partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs. The score, the third highest partnership for the fifth-wicket in ODIs, took Bangladesh close to the target and when Shakib left after scoring a ton, Bangladesh needed 11 off 21 balls to win. The batsmen scored the remaining runs in the next five balls to score another major upset in the Champions Trophy.

When the Tigers started their chase, an unplayable spell from Tim Southee put them on the back foot when the pacer dismissed three Bangladeshi batsmen before the completion of the fifth over with the scoreboard just reading 12.

Adam Milne accounted for Mushfiqur Rahim and the match appeared headed for an early finish. The New Zealand Captain put up a test match field for Mahmudullah and Shakib with seven close-in fielders and scoring runs was difficult.

That’s when Riyad seemed to have had enough of the torment and launched a blistering counter-attack hitting a six, followed by a four in the 19th over bowled by Jimmy Neesham. Shakib, too, joined in soon and what followed was controlled mayhem which knocked the fourth-ranked New Zealanders out of the tournament at the league stage itself.

Both Shakib and Mahmudullah scored breathtaking centuries, 114 and 102 respectively. Even when Shakib was undone by a brilliant Trent Boult Yorker in the 47th over, the partnership had left nothing to chase and Riyad, along with the new comer Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, finished the match and Bangladesh scripted one of the most famous comebacks in cricketing history.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand after winning the toss elected to bat first and riding on half-centuries from Captain Kane Williamson (57 off 69) and veteran Ross Taylor (63 off 82), put up a total of 265-8 after the completion of 50 overs.

At one point, when Taylor and Williamson were batting, New Zealand looked like scoring in abundance of 300 but Bangladesh made a comeback through a 21-year-old all-rounder, Mosaddek Hossain. Hossain, who was introduced to the attack in the 42nd over as a ‘wild card’, accounted for Neil Broom, Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson, all three enjoying a reputation of being big hitters. All three went back to the pavilion in a spell of just three overs and the wickets prevented New Zealand from taking the match away.

Now Bangladesh will keep all eyes on the Australia vs England match at Edgabaston on Saturday. If Australia win, they would seal a berth in the semis. Bangladesh will hope, and pray, for an English win as that’s their only hope for qualifying into the next round.

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