Mixed 2017 for the Tigers

Star Online Report

Published: 31st December, 2017

It's been a mixed year for the Bangladesh national cricket team as the fans experienced both highs and lows. There were some good performances during the year and Tigers' were euphoric on many occasions as they wrote their names into the annals of cricketing history and there indeed were many firsts.

However, it was not always smooth sailing for the Tigers as they faced many disappointments and setbacks during the year. Here we take a look at how the Tigers battled in 2017.

New Zealand tour

Buoyed by their win against England at home, where they won the second Test by 108 runs against the visitors, Bangladesh stepped on to 2017 with the away series against New Zealand.

The Tigers opened the New Year in tremendous style as Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim laid waste to the New Zealand bowling in the first Test. The two veterans earmarked the new year with a 359-run fifth-wicket stand -- Bangladesh’s highest partnership in Test cricket, beating the previous one set by Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes.

Shakib struck a double hundred and his score of 217 was the highest score for a Bangladesh batsman in Test cricket, beating Tamim Iqbal’s 206 against Pakistan. Mushfiqur was on song as he struck a brilliant 159 as the Tigers looked to assert their dominance having put on 595 runs on the board in the first innings. Their joy was however short lived as they bundled out for just 160 in the second innings to lose the Test match by seven wickets. Bangladesh lost the second Test as well to lose the Test series 2-0 and ended the tour without a single win under their belt, having also lost the T20 series 3-0. Tigers lost the ODI series 3-0 before the start of 2017.


Lone Test against India

Bangladesh then visited India for their landmark first Test series tour in India, where they played a lone Test against the hosts at Hyderabad. Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim’s ton was a bright spot in the lone Test but the 208-run innings defeat revealed what many had suspected – Tigers were losing games from positions where a draw was manageable.

The fifth-day collapse was a trend that followed from the two-Test series against New Zealand where Bangladesh innings succumbed to pressure on the fifth day.


Sri Lanka away series: Tigers' most successful tour

The same collapse took place in the first Test of Tigers’ tour of Sri Lanka where Bangladesh lost 10 wickets on the fifth day in 60.2 overs to lose by 259 runs.

The Tigers turned it around in their landmark 100th Test with a remarkable victory against the Lankans. Gritty bowling from Shakib and Mustafizur Rahman saw them bowl Sri Lanka out for 319 in the second innings before Tigers pulled through on the last day to secure a historic victory.

Tigers ended up drawing the Test, ODI and T20 series against the Lankans to complete their most successful tour. The final T20 was memorable as captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza led his side to a win in what was his last T20 match for Bangladesh.


Tri-Nation series and making the ICC Champions Trophy semifinals

Bangladesh started their preparations for the ICC Champions Trophy with a Tri-nation series Dublin which involved Ireland and New Zealand. They finished the series on a high having beaten the black caps by five wickets in their final match.

The Champions trophy signaled a turning of the tides for Bangladesh cricket as they made it to the semifinals of the coveted tournament, although they had luck on their side as they shared points against the Aussies in a rain-interrupted game – a game where Australia were on course for victory before rain took over proceedings.

Bangladesh fared poorly in the bowling department over the course of the tournament, losing to England in the first match by eight wickets after posting a challenging 305 on the board.

Bangladesh’s final Group A fixture was a do-or-die affair against New Zealand and the Tigers rose to the occasion through a fantastic 224-run partnership between Mahmudullah Riyad and Shakib – a partnership that ensured semifinal berth for the Tigers.

Bowling problems however once again came to the forefront as Bangladesh lost to India by nine wickets in the semis as their total of 264 looked small and inadequate.

Making it to the semifinal was a big achievement for Bangladesh and the victory against the Kiwis to ensure semifinal berth after staring defeat in the face was a remarkable feat that will live long amidst the fans of Bangladesh.


Australia’s tour of Bangladesh

The Tigers were geared up for Australia’s Bangladesh visit and big names like Shakib and Tamim were confident of beating the Aussies on home turf. Bangladesh achieved another historic feat in the first Test at Dhaka, defeating Australia by 20 runs in a nail-biting encounter.

Shakib’s 10-wicket haul and Tamim’s fifties in both innings proved crucial in a pitch where the Aussies struggled against the spinners.

A fourth day batting collapse saw Bangladesh lose the second Test by seven wickets to draw the Test series 1-1.


South Africa tour: Hard lesson

Bangladesh’s tour of South Africa was a disastrous one where they failed to put up a fight in the Tests and ODIs. They lost both Tests by huge margins where there bowling problems came to the forefront. The Proteas batsmen made easy work of the Tigers’ bowlers and Mustafizur Rahman was the only one who offered some venom on docile tracks.

Tigers’ head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, whose reign coincided with Bangladesh’s most successful era, resigned mid-way through the South Africa tour. His resignation only came to the attention of the media after the tour ended – a tour where Bangladesh did not win a single match, losing the ODI and the T20 series.

The disastrous tour ultimately lead to Mushfiqur Rahim losing his captaincy as Shakib Al Hasan was appointed as the new captain of the Bangladesh Test side.

Bangladesh are currently in a state of flux and will start the new year in a worse position than they started 2017. Their first assignment will be against their former coach Hathurusinghe, who took over the reigns of Sri Lanka national team. What will the new year bring? It’s wait and watch for the fans of the Tigers.

Bangladesh were in difficult state in 2014 but they managed to overcome challenges and become successful in International cricket. Hope is that the Tigers will pull through as an unit as they enter a new era.