Fans appreciate Miraz show in Dharamshala
A placard saying 'We love you Miraz' held by a Bangladesh supporter at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium in Dharamshala on Saturday reflected the amount of trust and reliability that all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz has been able to gain in recent times.
The Tigers did not disappoint their fans and started off their World Cup campaign with a comprehensive six-wicket win over Afghanistan.
Apart from Shakib's exploits with the ball, it was Miraz who managed to shine bright with both bat and bowl as he was instrumental in Bangladesh's win. A bowling figure of three for 25 runs to help bundle out Afghanistan for 156 was followed by a 73-ball 57, his third ODI fifty, which helped steer Bangladesh across the finish line.
His nine overs included three maidens and applied the brakes in Afghanistan's innings. On the field, he saved crucial runs and capitalised on his form with the bat to brush off any jitters Bangladesh had after they lost two wickets for 27 runs.
Having scored back-to-back fifties in the warm-up games against Sri Lanka and England, Miraz once again showed good composure, adding 97 runs for the third wicket with Najmul Hossain Shanto and laying the foundation for a comfortable win.
"I think Miraz is developing as Bangladesh's next world-class all-rounder after Shakib. The way he has been performing with the bat recently in various positions is remarkable and I think by the time Shakib retires, we will find another champion all-rounder," Mahmudul Hasan Shuvo, who works in the private sector in Dhaka told The Daily Star on Saturday.
A significant number of Bangladesh supporters had travelled from all parts of the world to Dharamsala, also known as the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh in the north-western region of India, to cheer on the Tigers. They made their presence felt as they made it to the stadium in numbers despite the hassle and discomfort of reaching the venue.
"We planned for this about six months back and since then have been saving money only to support the Bangladesh team from inside the ground in the World Cup. We have a group of over thirty supporters comprised of students, service holders and other professionals. As you know Dharamshala is quite far compared to the other cities in India, so it was a challenge for us to get here from Bangladesh before the first game.
"We had to take the long road trip of over 12 hours from Delhi and despite the sleepless nights, we were determined to stand behind our team; No matter where the Bangladesh team plays, we want to motivate our players. I think we were able to outnumber the Afghan supporters today and hopefully, we will continue to do that in the coming days as well," he added.