Fifth time lucky for Tigers?
Over the years Bangladesh have won a number of bilateral series both at home and abroad and a couple of league-format tournaments involving lower-ranked sides, but one thing that they have not yet done is to win the final of a tournament involving three or more teams. With the most recent final defeat against Sri Lanka in Dhaka in January this year, Bangladesh have now lost four finals of multi-nation tournaments. As the Tigers go into another tournament final today, let us have a brief recap of what happened in those four previous finals.
Tri-nation ODI tournament, 16 Jan 2009, Dhaka (2-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka)
The sequence of defeats started in 2009, with a heartbreaking two-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in a tri-nation ODI tournament, which also involved Zimbabwe.
This was a low-scoring affair as Bangladesh got bowled out for 152, with an unbeaten 43 from Rokibul Hasan being the highest scorer. However, the hosts looked set for an upset victory when they reduced Sri Lanka for five for six, only to see Kumar Sangakkara resurrect the innings with 59 runs before an unbeaten 38 from Farveez Maharoof and an incredible unbeaten 16-ball 33 from Muttiah Muralidaran snatched the victory away from the Tigers.
Asia Cup, 22 March 2012, Dhaka (2-run defeat against Pakistan)
The same dose was repeated three years later, albeit in a more heart-wrenching fashion, with a two-run defeat against Pakistan in the final of the 2012 Asia Cup in Dhaka.
Bangladesh had the momentum on their side as they had won the previous two matches against Sri Lanka and India after having suffered a close defeat against Pakistan in the tournament's first match.
Chasing a target of 235 after having won the toss, the Tigers seemed on course for a famous victory, thanks to Tamim Iqbal's 60 and Shakib Al Hasan's 68. However, Bangladesh kept losing wickets at regular intervals as the target came closer and with nine runs needed off the last over, Mahmudullah Riyad, who stayed unbeaten on 17, failed to keep enough of the strike as Bangladesh eventually fell to a two-run defeat.
Asia Cup, 6 March 2016, Dhaka (8-wicket defeat against India)
The next final defeat came in Dhaka four years later, this time the in T20s and the opposition being India. This was a much more straight-forward defeat though and there were no drama or heart-stopping moments.
Having lost the toss, the hosts were invited to bat, and all they could muster in the match curtailed to 15-over-a-side, despite an unbeaten 13-ball 33 from Mahmudullah, was 120 for the loss of five wickets. The total proved to be way too little for the vaunted Indian batting line-up, which got the runs out of the way in 13.5 overs losing only two wickets.
Tri-nation final, 27 January 2018, Dhaka (79-run defeat against Sri Lanka)
Bangladesh started this ODI tournament like absolute favourites, dispatching Zimbabwe by eight wickets and thrashing Sri Lanka by 163 runs before handing a 93-run defeat to Zimbabwe again in their first three matches to book an early berth in the final. However, a 10-wicket defeat against the Lankans in the reverse fixture shifted the momentum as the hosts started the final as underdogs.
However, they thought they had a real shout at winning the final of a multi-nation event for the first time when they restricted the Lankans to 221. But their batting let them down heavily yet again. All they could manage was 142 in 41.1 overs, despite a wonderful knock of 76 from that man Mahmudullah again.
So after losing four finals against three Asian giants, is it time yet for the Tigers to break their final jinx? After having snatched a heroic win against Sri Lanka in the virtual semifinal, the Tigers should feel they have all the confidence to win the title. But will that be enough against a side, albeit not a full-strength one, that they have never beaten before in this format and have conceded two defeats against whom in this very tournament?