Sporting pundits themselves would be in a quandary, if asked to decide which of the two performances put up by Bangladesh this month -- versus Afghanistan on March 16 or versus Hong Kong yesterday -- was worse.
There wasn't much of a quandary for Hong Kong though, who secured the greatest ever win in their cricketing history. Their band of spinners led them to a two-wicket win over the hosts, in front of 15,000 Bangladeshi fans at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, who seemed shocked to their core. Batting first Bangladesh tumbled and grumbled to 108 all out in 16.3 overs, in reply, Hong Kong reached home, making 114 for 8 with two balls to go.
Such was the scenario of the game that the Nepal cricket team, who needed Hong Kong to finish the game within 13.1 overs, would have been biting their nails until the fifth over as Hong Kong raced to 35 for 1.
However, a Shakib Al Hasan over later -- which saw him remove danger men Irfan Ahmed (34) and Jamie Atikinson (7) and give away just one run in the eighth -- the Tigers had essentially tucked in their first mission of the game: seal a spot in the Super 10s. While the hosts seemed a lot more relaxed after that, they never really looked like attacking.
The visitors lost a flurry of wickets in the following overs. Mushfiqur Rahim took a good catch to remove Babar Hayat in the ninth over, while Mahmudullah Riyad sent both Mark Chapman and Nizakat Khan back to the pavilion. At 83 for 5, Hong Kong needed a batsman to stand up and Munir Dar did exactly that, smacking Forhad Reza for two fours and a six in the 17th over to take back control.
Dar was eventually bowled out in the 18th over for 36, but by then Hong Kong needed just nine runs from 12 balls, a task Haseeb Amjad completed with a six off the fourth ball of the final over.
There would be many ways to describe the hosts' batting performance. But to put it subtly, it seemed from the attitude of the players -- every single one of them -- that they were looking to play the name instead of the game; the manner in which each of them got dismissed proved that.
Tamim Iqbal in the first over attempted to cut a delivery that was too close and was bowled. Anamul Haque, who seemed to be oozing with confidence after hitting a flurry of boundaries got bowled while attempting an unnecessary drive off slow left-armer Nadeem Ahmed.
Despite slumping to 51 for 3 in six overs the batsmen continued their attempts of hitting almost every delivery out of the ground.
Shakib, who seemed to be timing the ball well, went for another hit and over deep mid-wicket, a shot that brought him so many runs before; this time though he got caught in the eleventh over.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim wasn't too different. After being dropped by Atkinson, behind the stumps in the tenth over, Mushfiqur attempted another heave through extra-cover, only to edge it high in the air.
Mahmudullah was Nadeem's second victim as he missed the line completely and got bowled in the 13th over. Both Forhad and Abdur Razzak chased wide deliveries in the 14th over to get caught behind off successive deliveries.
Nadeem returned in the 15th over to get the wickets of the tail-enders and finish off what was perhaps one of the worst batting displays put up by Bangladesh.
To Hong Kong's credit, they recognised the hosts' strategy of going after every ball quite early in the game and stuck to their task of merely bowling a good line. Nadeem, who finished with four for 21, was the chief destructor.
The kind of batting display that the hosts put up yesterday throws the qualifying equations out of the window. Super 10s or not, what should be a more concerning factor for the team management is to get to the roots of the reasons behind the shocking performances that they have been putting of late.