Sports desk – Bangladesh on Friday made a stunning victory against New Zealand riding on centuries by Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan to keep alive the hope for a place in the Champion Trophy semifinals.
Mahmudullah and Shakib shared a partnership of 224 runs, a record for Bangladesh, as they own the match by five wickets at Cardiff. Bangladesh finished on 268-5 in 47.2 overs to chase the 266 target set by New Zealand in 50 overs.
Bangladesh could advance to the semifinals, depending on the result of the England-Australia game at Edgbaston on Saturday. Bangladesh has three points in Group A, one more than Australia.
New Zealand is out of the tournament with one point from three games.
Early collapse of top order batsmen put the Tigers on trouble when Bangladesh was 33-4, but Mahmudullah and Shakib salvaged their side to the victory from the trouble.
It was a record Bangladesh partnership for any ODI wicket and the third highest fifth-wicket ODI partnership for any team.
Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated the team for their spectacular victory. The Prime Minister phoned both centurions wishing them to continue for more wins the international cricket.
Mahmudullah hit a 107-ball undefeated 102, with eight fours and two sixes. Shakib scored 114 with 11 fours and one six off 115 balls before he was bowled by Trent Boult.
Mashrafe Mortaza, captain of Bangladesh, said it was “very difficult” to see the team’s way out of 33-4.
“But once it (the partnership) got to 200 … to be honest I start to believe, because I knew that these two can make the difference, and they did a lot of times,” Mortaza said.
Though it ultimately proved successful, the run chase started badly for Bangladesh when Tamim Iqbal (0) was out leg before wicket in only the second ball of the innings, beaten by rare swing with the white ball from Tim Southee (3-45).
Iqbal had scored 65, 128 and 95 in his previous three ODI innings and his early departure was a major blow.
Sabbir Rahman was then caught behind off Southee to leave Bangladesh on 10-2 in the third over. That became 12-3 in the fifth over with Southee’s wicket maiden which claimed Soumya Sarkar (3) leg before and put Southee on 3-10.
Adam Milne moved his team closer to Bangladesh’s vulnerable tail by beating Mushfiqur Rahim (14) with sheer pace, knocking the middle stump out of the ground — but also bringing Mahmudullah and Shakib together.
Cricket website ispncrickinfo says all seemed lost at this point. But in Shakib and Mahmudullah, Bangladesh found quite the rearguard.
Neither does defensive cricket too well, and they duly began with a counterattacking four each in the 13th over. Mahmudullah brought out some audacious shots, blasting Neesham over midwicket for a big six and following up with a dinky pull next ball. Not long after, he ramped Corey Anderson.
Shakib brought up his fifty and the century partnership in the 29th over with one of his trademark strolled singles to third man, very Arjuna Ranatunga-like.
Mahmudullah, the more elegant of the two, reached his fifty in the 31st over before lifting Kane Williamson over long-on for six. Soon the target was down to double digits, reported the website.
There was a brief lull after the equation was down to 70 off the last 10 overs, but Shakib and Mahmudullah opened up again with cuts, chips, full-blooded drives and an upper-cut to bring the asking rate down to below a run a ball. A single in the 45th over made Shakib and Mahmudullah the first Bangladesh pair to have a 200-run partnership in an ODI.
The winning moment came when Mosaddek Hossain, Bangladesh’s hero with the ball, flashed a boundary through third man off Milne. The scenes of the batsmen celebrating and their team-mates screaming in sheer delight from the balcony were a flashback to 2005 when they slayed Ricky Ponting’s men.
With the ball, Bangladesh had once again proven miserly in the slog overs, conceding just 62 runs in the last 10 overs and picking up four wickets.
It derailed New Zealand’s effort as part-time offspinner Mosaddek, brought on as late as the 42nd over, took three of those wickets. Mosaddek removed a set Neil Broom as well as the big-hitters Anderson – for a golden duck – and Neesham in the space of 18 deliveries.
Mashrafe and Bangladesh however had to ride out some efficient New Zealand batting leading up to the 40th over. Martin Guptill and Luke Ronchi got them off to a quick start, before Williamson and Taylor took over. The captain and Taylor added 83 runs for the third wicket. Both got fifties; Williamson’s was his third score over fifty in three games in the tournament.
But then New Zealand’s lower-middle order unravelled liked it had done against Australia and England. While Mosaddek had the best figures, Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed bowled well at both ends of the innings – the first 10 overs and the last 10.
This efficient bowling performance was backed by astute captaining by Mashrafe, and made sure New Zealand did not get away to a total that was out of reach.
“In the past, we have defended totals like that on those sorts of surfaces, and we were in a pretty good position to do it again but what a fantastic partnership,” captain Kane Williamson said.
“Two very talented players, very experienced players, and it came together today and to get a 200-plus partnership under pressure was simply superb, but frustrating to be on the other side of it.”
Earlier, New Zealand was in good shape with Williamson and Ross Taylor. They shared 83 for the third wicket, and Williamson became the first batsman to score four successive 50-plus scores in the Trophy, before running himself out on 57.
Taylor hit an unhurried 63 off 82 balls, including six fours, before his mistimed ramp shot cost him at 201-4 in the 39th over, according to cricinfo.
The Kiwis barely saw out their 50 overs, as they lost six wickets for only 64 runs in almost 12 overs at the end, after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.
Pacer Taskin Ahmed, with 2-43, removed Taylor, but it was offspinner Mosaddek Hossain, who had only one wicket in his last five one-day internationals, who did the most damage. He ripped through New Zealand’s fragile middle order with 3-13 in three overs.
New Zealand, which won the tournament in 2000, kept the same team from its abandoned opener against Australia, and an 87-run defeat to England.