The no-ball that wasn't | The Daily Star
12:13 AM, March 20, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:21 AM, March 23, 2015

The no-ball that wasn't

They say 'small teams' can't knock champions out. To put it more subtly; a team as inexperienced as Bangladesh in the knockout stages can't be expected to thump the reigning champions out of the World Cup. That's what Sourav Ganguly indicated prior to the match. Paul Collingwood said the same and so did a number of other ex-cricketers and experts.

One can't absolutely disagree with those thoughts. After all, at the end of the day, it was Bangladesh's inexperience that got the better of them. However, one would feel that there were certain crucial moments in the game, which could have led to a different scenario, had they gone Bangladesh's way.    

Bangladesh's openers didn't come of age, the Tigers lost the battle to those short-pitched deliveries and they were unnerved by the task of chasing down a 300-plus target. But those failures of course were with regards to their batting.

Their bowling display was a different story altogether. After getting pounded in the first ten overs, they came back through spin. They put a tight leash on the Indian batsmen in the middle overs.

India countered by launching an attack during the batting powerplay; one which Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and co thought that they had put an end to in the 40th over after Rohit Sharma pulled a low full-toss straight to deep mid-wicket.

To their utter disappointment and surprise though that delivery was deemed a no-ball due to height; and that's when Bangladesh imploded. Sharma shifted to top gear and hit Bangladesh out of the game. Such were the dire straits at that moment that at one point Mashrafe lost his concentration and placed an extra fielder outside the circle; for which he was no-balled.

All these factors just go on to show how crucial that decision was. For starters, that wasn't a no-ball. The ball was clearly dipping down upon impact. A few commentators in the box termed it questionable, but the more aggressive of them—the likes of Shane Warne and VVS Laxman, criticised Aleem Dar's decision.

How an umpire could straightaway lift his arm for a decision that marginal remains a crucial question. The general norm has always been to consult the third-umpire on such occasions. Why that query wasn't sent upstairs is a question that Bangladesh's fans will, in all likelihood, never get an answer to.

Bangladesh thought that they had done something that the teams in the big league do. They thought that they had managed to bring themselves back into the game for a second time after that catch. But after being denied in a ludicrous fashion, they went through the jitters; and could barely rise-up again when they went out to bat next.

So yes, it was Bangladesh's inexperience that led to their eventual downfall; but until the 40th over yesterday they played like any other big team in the circuit. Perhaps what was most painful for Bangladesh's fans; was to witness their team gradually fade away from the match after taking a hit for a mistake that wasn't theirs to repent.    

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