9 October 2008
Bangladesh have produced one of their finest performances in ODI to thrash visiting New Zealand by 7 wickets with more than 4 overs to spare and took 1-0 lead in the three match Brac Bank ODI series at Mirpur Sher E Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka today. Bangladesh capitalized on winning the toss in damp conditions and bowlers responded with an impeccable performance to restrict the Kiwis for a modest 201 for 9 in 50 overs. Unlike many other occasions, batsmen kept the momentum going and scripted a famous victory to prove the critics wrong after the much talked ICL exodus. It was a near perfect performance from a new look Bangladesh and they deserve every credit for standing tall during the most turbulent time of Bangladesh cricket.
Despite losing in-form Tamim Iqbal early, Bangladesh maintained their calm and consolidated to lay the platform of the historic victory. It was left handed opener Junaid Siddique who led the run chase and he was ably supported by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim who was promoted to number three position. The pair shared a valuable 67 run partnership which reminded the memorable world cup win over India in Trinidad where Mushfiq also batted at number 3 and shared the match winning 84 run partnership with felow Tiger Shakib Al Hasan.
After losing Mushfiqur on 85, Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful, who was the talk of the media since Tigers' Australia tour for all wrong reasons, took the centre stage and launched a sparkling onslaught to revive his career and guide his team to victory against a top nation for the first time under his captaincy. Ashraful along with Zunaed initially took a risk free serene approch and milked the Kiwi bowling effortlessly with regular singles. Zunaed paced his innings to perfection and played some delightful shots after reaching his maiden ODI fifty.
With the victory in sight, ashraful called the thrid powerplay and the pair punished the hapless Kiwi attack with blistering stroke play. Ashraful raced to the 50 in just 46 balls as he took the Kiwi medium pacers to the cleaners. Bangladesh lost Zunaed on 194, but Ashraful remained unbeaten on 60 to steer Bangladesh to their maiden win against the Kiwis. Junaed Siddiqque earned the man of the match award for his match winning 85 runs.
Earlier, New Zealand started the day strongly as the openers Brendan Mccullum and Jesse Ryder started to cut loose against the Bangladesh opening bowlers. Mashrafe bowled with aggression and discipline to keep the Kiwis at the bay from one end but the radarless bowling from the other end helped New Zealand pile up runs and they raced to 47 in 8 overs. At this point, Mashrafe provided the vital breakthrough by removing dangerman McCullum and introduction of spin by Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful caused havoc in the visitors' innings.
The Kiwis completely lost their way and a top order meltdown saw them reeling at 79 for 6 at the end of 21st over. New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori and all-rounder Jacob Oram tried to bring the derailed innings on track with a vital 70 run 7th wicket partnership and New Zealand recovered well to post 201 runs in the stipulated 50 overs, but at the end it proved too little for the revitalized Tigers. Mashrafe Mortaza ran through the Kiwi toop order and bagged 4 wickets for 44 runs while left arm spinner Abdur Razzak returned to his miserly best and grabbed 3 wickets for 33 runs.
With series victory in sight, Bangladesh will face the tourists in the second ODI at the same venue on Saturday.