Mashrafe’s Midas touch
If you take a look at his stats, it seems Mashrafe Mortaza saves his best for the Indian cricket team, considering his outstanding performance in all the victories against India in one-day matches.
Bangladesh pulled off a historic victory at home by 15 runs, their first-ever against India on December 26, 2004. In the ICC World Cup of 2007 and Asia Cup of 2012 at Dhaka, India were beaten by five wickets by Bangladesh.
Mashrafe's invaluable contribution for the victories in 2004 and 2007 earned him the man-of-the-match award in both games while his bowling in the 2012 win was pivotal in the context of the match.
In 2004, Bangladesh recovered from 5/88 to post 229 in 50 overs. Mashrafe first hustled a crucial unbeaten 31, his highest ODI score, to give his team a challenging total.
Opening the bowling, he gave Bangladesh the perfect start by removing the dangerous Virender Sehwag with his third ball. When Dhoni-Kaif partnership looked threatening, Mashrafe sent back Dhoni besides taking two crucial catches in the game.
Mashrafe's bowling analysis of 9 overs, two maidens, 36 runs and two wickets helped Bangladesh beat India by 15 runs, and he announced his come back to one-day cricket after a 15-month layoff to injury in style.
In the eighth match of the ICC World Cup in 2007, Mashrafe's superb control with the new ball and swing with the old left Indian batters clueless at the crease.
In his opening spell, Mashrafe sent back Sehwag and Robin Uthappa in quick succession. Returning for his last spell, Mashrafe polished off the tailenders by dismissing Ajit Agarkar and Munaf Patel to halt India's total at 191.
In 9.3 accurate and hostile overs, Bangladesh's stand out bowler Mashrafe gave away only 38 runs and captured four wickets. Bangladesh eventually won with five wickets and nine balls remaining in the match.
The fourth match of Asia Cup in 2012 was a game dominated by the batsmen where only Mashrafe could hold his own. He was the most economical bowler and captured the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina at crucial junctures of the match.
Mashrafe gave away 44 runs from ten overs, and hugely contributed in keeping India's total below 300, which at one point seemed a certainty. India scored 293, which Bangladesh crossed in the last over of the match.