Bangladesh cricket team continues to make headlines this year in ODI cricket with nine wins in fourteen matches, and gives ample reason why the 50-over format is their undeniable forte.
The ninth win for Tigers this year was over the visiting South Africans on July 12, to level the 3-match ODI series after three crushing defeats earlier in the tour.
With the bold Mashrafe Mortaza at the helm, Bangladesh’s bowling performance was the deciding factor in recent series wins over Pakistan and India after a successful ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
After a string of low scores in the two T20Is and the 1st ODI of the series, Bangladesh decided to shore up their batting in the 2nd game against the Proteas with eight batters.
Mashrafe, Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain were the genuine bowlers in the line-up while Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Nasir Hossain came in as the spinning allrounders.
What ensued on the historic day, when South Africa won the toss and decided to bat first in the 2nd ODI was nothing short of a bowling tour de force from Bangladesh.
Just to put their disciplined performance into perspective, South Africa’s total of 162 had 14 boundaries and a solitary six while Soumya Sarkar alone hammered 13 fours in his unbeaten knock of 88.
Bangladesh’s bowlers concentrated on bowling on one side of the pitch and preferably straight more often than not to choke South African batsmen of runs in the series leveling match at Mirpur.
Proteas found the going tough right from the onset as Mustafizur Rahman was right on the money from his first delivery. Mashrafe made use of his clever change of pace to keep the opening batters honest.
Bangladesh already began tightening the screws by the time both Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla were sent back to the pavilion by the 13th over.
Shakib Al Hasan and Rubel Hossain built up pressure from both ends that frustrated South African batters into rash strokes.
Rilee Rossouw was the first to perish trying to break the shackles when he missed a straight delivery from Nasir Hossain.
Mahmudullah struck in his first over when David Miller followed Rossouw’s path with the run-rate slightly above three after 24 overs.
Nasir’s knack of breaking partnerships served his team extremely well as the part-time off-spinner picked up valuable wickets in the middle-overs.
His return of 3 for 26 in eight overs was most impressive from the allrounder who has chipped in wickets and runs batting late in the innings since returning to the ODI team.
The spinners as a unit bowled 22 overs, conceded only 69 runs and captured four wickets with subtle variation in pace without giving much width to score with.
When the pacers were brought for their second spells, both Mustafizur and Rudel did not disappoint their skipper as wickets continued to tumble for Proteas to leave them stuttering at 116 for 7.
With Farhaan Behardien giving the main momentum for the tail to wag, the frantic 46 runs for the last three wickets just gave a semblance of respectability to South Africa’s total.
Mustafizur’s cutters supplemented with a nagging length showed how potent he can be, and was rewarded with a Test call-up for his recent heroics.
His contribution of three wickets in ten, exciting overs giving away only 38 runs allowed Bangladesh to complete their dominance over the visitors.
The icing on the cake as far as the brilliant bowling performance in the 2nd ODI is concerned came most aptly from Mashrafe himself, when he sent back Behardien in the 46th over to cap off a night when whatever he touched, turned to gold.