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Don?t expect Cricinfo? or the Indian media to write anything inspirational about this performance. Unfortunately, even many of us express deep pessimism about our cricket on the discussion board here. The first ODI was a psychological victory for our battered team; and regardless of how much Indian commentators and media say that the game was out our reach despite a narrow escape by India, the facts stand as they are. Why was India?s margin of victory only 11 runs? Rejoice, weary fans, you have much to be happy about in this:

IND vs. BD 1st ODI Reportcard

Published: 24th December, 2004

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Don?t expect Cricinfo? or Indian the media to write anything inspirational about this performance. Unfortunately, even many of us express deep pessimism about our cricket on the discussion board here. The first ODI was a psychological victory for our battered team; and regardless of how much Indian commentators and media say that the game was out our reach despite a narrow escape by India, the facts stand as they are. Why was India?s margin of victory only 11 runs? Rejoice, weary fans, you have much to be happy about in this:

  • We pegged India back early in the game, and kept the pressure on until the very last few overs.
  • Our run rate during the chase closely matched that of India for most of the game.
  • India failed to contain us in the last 10 overs, worse than what we did with them. We scored 80 runs in the last 10, Compared to India?s 72 in the same period.
  • Even our wickets fell in similar clusters, and equal numbers wickets have fallen. It went on like a match between two teams of equal strength. This is a good match for our short cricket history against a powerful team as India.

Well, informed fans know what cost us the match despite inspired performances by the bowlers, fielders and by some of our batsmen. We hit 17 fours compared to their 22. This demure batting, especially at the beginning cost us dearly. Getting into that, let?s do a little grading of our performers, shall we?

A Captain's Knock

A Captain's Knock

The Skipper: Finally, he?s shaking off the rust from his injured past. The proverbial Captain?s knock came true in the first ODI. Bashar played a composed 96-ball-65 with six fours. What impressed me the most is that the innings was chanceless ?til he got out. He even took a couple of his dangerous pull shots, but cautiously this time. He mixed this shot with a distinct twist of the wrist that changed the angle of the flight of the ball, dropping it safely in the gaps. We can forgive him for that one catch he dropped. Just like Wasim Akram said, ?this sort of things do happen in One Day games.? Bashar gets an ?A?.

Aftab: He also gets an ?A? for his efforts. In this, I am considering the extra pressure he was under when he came in. After settling down, he did come alive. His 30 off 49, along with Bashar?s knock, rebuilt our innings nicely after we were 43-3. His picking of Harbhajan over his shoulder to fine leg was the definitely the shot of the match. His bowling was pretty decent also.

Khaled Mahmud Sujon: Now we know why he?s still around, and in the team. This was a wonderful effort by this aging cricketer. Khaled Mahmud bowled very decently, keeping most of his deliveries spot on. He was admired by the likes of Wasim and Arunlal. His knock of 21 off 17 was exactly what we needed at that point of the game. That one square cut was priceless for it?s timing and feathery touch. Sujon gets an ?A? also.

Khaled Mashud Pilot: As usual, he was brilliant, our Man-of the-Match for sure. His back-to-back dismissal of Sriram and Dhonia came at such a crucial time, it brought us back to the match. His 39-ball-50* was indeed the knock of the whole match. He brought us very close to delivering a defeat to India. An ?A+? for sure.

Taposh Baisya and Najmu Hossainl: Both get a ?B+? for their efforts. Taposh has been maturing nicely for last one year. He still need to put the ball in the right spot during the clutch overs. Nazmul is just starting out. He needs to hone his skills now to make the best use of his natural talents in the near future. He?s making remarkable improvements in every match.

Mohammad Rafique: Can?t blame him for that out while opening, thanks to a magnificent pluck by Yuvraj. An ?A? for Rafique?s bowling, no surprises there. I think we still need to try him in the opener?s spot as a left-hander, especially since we may not have a better solution at present. He?s got the power to hit the ball, brings in the element of disregard we so essentially need for the opening bowler.

Nafis Iqbal: He clams up in big matches, even his fans know that. We?ve seen this before many times at different stages of his career. The difference this time was, he hung on, even barely so. In the process, he wasted many deliveries, costing us the early momentum, may be even the match. Nafis did not look comfortable for a moment, during his 52-ball long stay for 9. I will grade him a ?C? and ask him to take a
make-up test in the next match.

Rajin Saleh: Unimpressive, what else can I say? He looked especially vulnerable to spin bowling, playing them without much clue. His run of bad form just isn?t a fluke, he is genuinely lacking technique. Rajin needs coaching with batting basics if he is to continue with the national side. He gets a ?C?.

Mohammad Ashraful: Excused for this match. Try next time, Ash.

Mushfiqur Rahman Babu: Dare I say anything about him? This will open up a can of worms: ?Why was he selected??, ?How does he manage to get picked??.. so on & so forth. As for this last match, he had a lucky wicket and an unlucky lbw out. Mushfiq?s bowling leaves a lot to be desired. He did not get to show his mettle in this match, some due to circumstances. Well, he didn?t make a blunder in anything and hung on to the catch that came to him. That ought to count for some credits, considering our team?s ?unforced error? ration being quite high. Let?s be kind and give him a ?B-?. Having said that, I know ten thousand more words will be written about our team strategy and filling the position of the alrounder with the right guy.

The Team: The team gets an ?A? for this effort. Keep up the good work, iron out the kinks and try for a better show in the next match. I must thank the Indian team for keeping their tour commitment by finally showing up. These Tests and ODIs are perfect preperation for us before Zimbabwe?s tour of Bangladesh begins.


The author is a distinguished member and staff of BanglaCricket forum and goes by the nick "Billah" - editors

 

About the author(s): Besides authoring witty and informative articles on Bangladesh cricket, Masum Billah contributes and shares much more of his insights on our forums, where he goes by the nick "billah".

 

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