A brilliantly painted Tigers fan lifts a Sri Lankan supporter up at Mirpur yesterday. Ironically, the Tigers on the field also helped out the Lankans to an improbable victory in the 1st ODI with their poor batting performance. Photo: Firoz Ahmed
The Tigers gave a gift to Sri Lanka last night.
When Sri Lanka had slipped to 67 for eight, everybody was eagerly anticipating a humiliating defeat for the visitors. But when the two Lankan tail-enders Thisara Perera and Sachithra Senanayake, who rode their luck, fought back to put up a decent total of 180 on the board, it set the cat amongst the pigeons.
And finally the home batters, despite a brilliant start, dug their own graves with an inexplicable display of batting. It also shattered the dream born under brilliant sunshine after the umpires announced the game a 43-over-a-side affair.
A very popular saying in cricket is that anything can happen in this game of glorious uncertainties but the Tigers' 13-run defeat in the first one-dayer of the three-match series in Mirpur will haunt millions of cricket fans for long. The word 'heartbreaking' is not enough to describe the manner in which Mushfiqur Rahim's men suffered the defeat to spoil yet another chance to taste the first win in the series after squandering chances in the T20I series.
There were lots of reasons to criticise the defensive captaincy of Mushfiqur for which his team probably had missed the opportunity to wrap up the Sri Lanka innings below 100 and the fielders' dropped catches to allow Perera to an unbeaten 80 was unpardonable. But still the batsmen should take the blame.
The damage started in the first over with the loose waft of Anamul Haque, who opened the innings with Shamsur Rahman in the absence of Tamim Iqbal as the left-hander missed the match because of a stiff neck along with Mashrafe Bin Mortaza who suffered an eleventh-hour injury. The danger abated for a while with the 79-run partnership between Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque, but the innings turned into a wreckage when Mushfiqur inexplicably attempted a scoop with the finishing line in sight and deliveries remaining aplenty. The Tigers were at one stage cruising along at 114-2 but lost their last eight wickets for 53 runs on a wicket which was much better than during the first half of the match.
The second ODI will be held at the same venue on Thursday, and the odds of Bangladesh coming back into this series after their show yesterday are very low.