Friday, February 15, 2019
Updated: Saturday, October 16, 2010
Close Encounter of the Last Kind

Zeeshan Mahmud

Danish American social reformer Jacob August Riis said the following:

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

And what else encapsulates this hypothesis better than the Tiger's road to victory from brink of disasters, losses and whitewashes over and over...


Rewind back to October 18, 2008. Exactly two years ago having beaten New Zealand in the first ODI ever, Bangladesh kicks off the test in Chittagong. Cricinfo proudly proclaims "Shakib leaves New Zealand in tatters" and surely he does having scalped 6 wickets for 31 runs off 24 overs leaving the Kiwis stuttering at 155 for 9 trailing Bangladesh for 90 runs. Surely victory is in sight? Alas! Clotho yet to shape the destiny for Tigers.

Further walk back down the memory lane. June 28, 2008. India versus Bangladesh showdown in Asia Cup at Karachi. Leopard man Alok Kapali - the first man ever to tattoo his name in history with a century against India for his country - helps pile on a massive score of 283 abetted by his partner in crime Tamim Iqbal's quickfire 55. As Karachi rains with Kapalis sixes, even Arun Lal in commentary box chimes out that India better do something about it as the game is getting away from them. Sprinkle in the dew factor to the mammoth total and surely you have victory in sight? Alas! "Bangladesh stuck in what-if phase!" Lachesis yet to smile. 

Fast forward to January 16, 2009. Months have passed. The team kept on grinding in the duration. Suddenly Bangladesh beats Sri Lanka with a thunderous 92 from Shakib in a rain curtailed Duckworth-Lewis gunning down the target and taking the team to the final versus Sri Lanka for a sniff of first ever series victory. And guess what? Even after posting a measly 152 in dead rubber at Mirpur, bowlers topple the top order committing a gruesome mess of 6 for 5. Atrophied pitch, trophy sure to belong to the Tigers in a historic series win....Alas! only to be checked by Atropos, the last of the Moirae, who spins the game on it's head in a volte-face from the vim and vigor of Murali's bludgeoning Rubel to victory.

And thus the pattern continues. Or rather did-- till the recent series win of the Tigers versus the Blackcaps. Gods have smiled, sacrifices made, thousands of expatriate fans' vigil have been answered all leading up to the grand finale for the ultimate feast in Valhalla.

Not even Hollywood could have written a better script.