Bangladesh superstar Shakib Al Hasan smashed a 16-ball 44 to help Tigers pile up 326 in their third Asia Cup match against Pakistan at Mirpur in Dhaka today.
He ran through the Pakistan bowling with disdain, hitting them for six boundaries and two sixes, sparking wild celebration at the Sher-e Bangla Stadium, the main cricketing ground in the capital.
His feat was all the more extra-ordinary given the fact that it was his first match after serving a three-match ban imposed by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for indecent gesture on live TV during the second ODI against Sri Lanka on February 20, and had little to no match practice before the match.
With Asia Cup imminent, fans across the country, and even skipper Mushfiqur Rahim requested the BCB to lift the ban, but the board was unmoved.
BCB’s sentiment echoed with many supporters, who considered Shakib’s gesture to be indecent and devoid of maturity. Still many local audience wished the ban had been withdrawn, paving way for the ace player to play in the matches.
Apparently, the short vacation had helped Shakib, who was at the top world all-rounder on and off, regain his composure, and helped do what he does best – play cricket.
By the close of today’s play, Shakib was a solitary strike away from equaling Sanath Jayasuriya’s world record of 17-ball half-century, and proved once again why he is considered the country’s best player.