Emphatic win against Zimbabwe
IT has indeed been a great mood lifter and a morale booster too. The emphatic 4-1 win against Zimbabwe in the ODI series is a welcome sign of our cricket coming of age, after having a rather prolonged adolescence steeped in obscurity. But that is something which many other leading teams also went through before they could upgrade themselves into a formidable side. The cricket lovers are really happy with our boys' fine showing, following their brilliant performance in West Indies.
The ODI series was actually over when our batsmen, unruffled by the prospect of having to score 313 runs to win the fourth ODI, reached the target, after some solid batting by the young, dashing opener Tamim Iqbal. The match showed that the boys are no longer scared of huge scores and are confident enough to put up a fight under any circumstances. And that is what cricket is all about.
The fifth ODI was played when the team's only target was to increase the winning margin. Here the right arm pacer Dollar Mahmud showed his class as he destroyed the Zimbabwean top order, which included the danger man Coventry, with some accurate bowling. Nevertheless, stiff resistance came from the late middle order and the Zimbabweans reached a modest 209. However, wicketkeeper batsmen Mushfiqur made sure that there would be no fight as he steered the team to a very comfortable position with a magnificent 98. We watched everyone doing his duty with a sense of commitment and professionalism.
Now, it is not the end of the journey, rather it could be the beginning of our cricket being no longer viewed scornfully! The point cannot be overlooked, given the criticism showered so liberally on the team by the pundits whenever it lost. Even its Test status was questioned many times. We do not blame the critics, but would like them to have a fresh look at our cricket, instead of condemning it thoughtlessly and perpetually.
The challenge ahead is going to be tough. The leading teams are capable of ruthlessly exploiting their adversaries' weaknesses. They are out for the kill and are never happy with anything less than victory. So, boys, get ready for a real fight against the top teams. There will be many opportunities for you to prove that the consecutive successes in West Indies and Zimbabwe were not flukes.