Even for the most topical of Bangladesh cricket supporters (a peek at the score on TV during a match is the closest they get to cricket), leave aside the passionate and diehard fans, 2015 was a historic year in every sense of the word, considering what the Tigers achieved in one-day international cricket at home and abroad.
A new captain in Mashrafe Mortaza and a young team full of promise stepped into 2015 on a high, particularly after a thumping 5-0 whitewash over Zimbabwe at home.
By the time 2015-season came to an end with the 3-0 ODI sweep over the hapless Zimbabweans at Mirpur stadium on November 11, Bangladesh have enjoyed the most successful spell in their cricket history by far.
The Bangla-Wash against Zimbabwe was the 5th consecutive bilateral series victory including three clean-sweeps since Mashrafe was re-appointed as captain before the Zimbabwe series last November.
-In 2015, Bangladesh secured 13 wins in 18 ODIs (72.2%), making them the second-best performing side, only behind Australia with 15 wins in 19 matches (78.9%)
-After a quarter-final appearance at the ICC Cricket World Cup down under, Bangladesh came back and stunned the cricketing world by sweeping Pakistan in a 3-match series at home quite easily.
It was the first series win over Pakistan.
-India came to town after Pakistan and found the going extremely tough with the young Mustafizur Rahman’s slower balls and off-cutters. Tigers defeated their neighbours in an ODI series for the first time as well.
-Before the euphoria of the India series win died down, South Africa came to Bangladesh for a short tour. The Proteas were beaten for the first time in a series too, after the Tigers came back from a game down to shock the visitors.
-The highest total batting first came this year at Dhaka on April 17. Bangladesh piled up 329/6 in 50 overs against Pakistan, thanks to tons from Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.
-The highest partnership by runs and for the 3rd wicket came during the high-scoring match against Pakistan on April 17 when Tamim and Mushfiq scripted the 178-run stand.
-The highest total chased down also arrived this year when Bangladesh scored 322/4 against Scotland at Nelson on March 5 during the World Cup.
-The most runs in an ODI series came during this year’s World Cup. Mahmudullah Riyad scored 365 runs with two tons and a fifty. 128 not out was his best effort.
-The most runs in a 3-match ODI series was also achieved this year when Tamim smashed 312 runs during Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh. 132 was his personal best with another hundred and a fifty in all.
-Most wickets during a 3-match ODI series: A remarkable feat from the newest pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman, who made his mark this year. He took 13 wickets in 3 games against India at an average of 11.53. 6/43 was his best bowling performance.
-Bangladesh recorded their third highest ODI victory on November 7 when Zimbabwe were humbled by 145 runs in the first match of the series. Shakib Al Hasan picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in the match.
-The third highest ODI score was also attained this year through Tamim’s 132 at Dhaka against Pakistan on April 17.
-Apart from the runs, wickets and victories, Bangladesh cricket found some incredible talents this year, players who have the potential to become world-beaters. Mustafizur Rahman was the find as far as the bowling unit is concerned, while Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman and Liton Das made their names with the bat in hand.
As far as fifty-over cricket is concerned, the future looks bright indeed for Bangladesh.
Best Luck to the Tigers for 2016!