A clinical Bangladesh team clinched their maiden tri-nation ODI series title by defeating West Indies in the final by five wickets at The Village ground in Malahide yesterday.
The series was crucial for Bangladesh, not just as preparation for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in the United Kingdom but also as platform to combine individual performances into a collective approach in all three departments of the game.
There were concerns over quite a few aspects the team ahead of the series, ranging from the bowling department’s lack of experience to finding a regular and settled opening partner for Tamim Iqbal. In addition, there were doubts over the side’s pace bowling all-rounder, who could prove handy in English conditions during the World Cup.
Last but not least, there were talks over whether spinners could play a vital role considering the batting friendly conditions in England and with the absence of a wrist spinner in the Bangladesh side, Shakib Al Hasan is the only fallback in the spin bowling department.
Although the Tigers’ faced weaker opponents in the tri-series, it was a collective approach and execution on the field that saw Bangladesh remain undefeated throughout the tournament.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Co. will surely be buoyed by the series win and certainly have reason to hold their heads high and remain positive ahead of the World Cup.
However, Bangladesh’s bowlers were on the back foot in the series final yesterday with rain also playing a part in making things tougher for the Tigers. Returning to the issue of consistency, when it comes to the batting department, none of Bangladesh’s batters have struck a century in the series so far while on the other hand there were four hundreds from West Indies and two from Ireland.
Interestingly, despite not having produced any individual hundreds, Bangladesh’s batsmen were consistent and this was because of their collective approach. That saw the Tigers successfully chase targets of 262, 248 and 293 runs comfortably by eight, five and six wickets respectively.
Soumya Sarkar, who was given the opportunity to cement his place in the opening slot with Tamim, showed that he is capable of the responsibility as the left-hander managed to hit two half centuries and more importantly, he looked confident with his shot-making ability.
Meanwhile, Tamim remained as consistent as ever as, when paired with Soumya, he helped provide two hundred and one fifty run opening stands in three matches.
Even stylish right-hander Liton Das, who got the chance to play against Ireland despite it being a dead rubber encounter, went on to strike a brisk 67-ball 76-run knock, which should surely encourage the selectors for when it comes to seeking alternative options for the opening pair.
As usual, Shakib maintained his lofty standards across all three departments -- batting, bowling, fielding -- as played crucial roles in all three of the Tigers’ wins in the series.
Skipper Mashrafe led Bangladesh’s fast bowling department from the front in Ireland, where Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed and Mohammad Saifuddin looked to be in fine rhythm, which should also surely be encouraging for the team management.
In the spin department, alongside Shakib it was Mehedi Hasan Miraz who stepped up and took responsibility. The off-spinner may have only picked up two wickets in three games but with an economy rate of 4.28 and the ability to keep opposition batsmen at bay in the middle overs was brilliant.
Back in yesterday’s match, Mossadek Hossain, who was Shakib’s last minute replacement, grabbed the opportunity, striking an unbeaten fifty to guide the Tigers to victory with seven balls to spare.