One of the best grounds in the subcontinent, the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium has hosted some exhilarating encounters between Bangladesh and visiting teams since 2006. Also known as the Mirpur Stadium, this state of the art home of Tigers’ cricket has given Bangladeshi supporters the euphoric moments of triumph etched forever in their hearts and minds. Let’s revisit the best seven ODI matches when Bangladesh cricket and the country itself saluted the sweet taste of success.
17 April, 2015. 16-year jinx against Pakistan finally came to an end when Bangladesh defeated them in the first game of the three-ODI series by a whopping 79 runs. It was a day when records tumbled thick and fast. It was the first time two Bangladeshi batsmen scored a hundred in the same innings. Highest partnership by runs in ODI was achieved when Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim batted together for 178 runs. Tamim scored his first hundred against Pakistan as well as Mushfiqur. Tigers scored their highest ODI total of 329 runs in this match.
The script for Bangladesh’s batting performance couldn’t have been better. Solid opening stand followed by a long partnership and a late flourish from the power hitters. Never in the match did the Pakistani bowlers seem to have any semblance of control. Tamim and Mushfiq made the most of sloppy fielding from Pakistan and made them pay through their nose. Tamim scored 132 runs from 135 balls with fifteen fours and three towering sixes. Mushfiq was more dominant than the southpaw as he smashed 106 runs from only 77 balls with thirteen fours and two sixes to his name. Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman combined in the end to propel Bangladesh to their highest ODI total.
Defending 329, Bangladeshi bowlers were professional and extremely proficient in their business, keeping the Pakistan batters at bay with disciplined bowling supported by sharp fielding throughout the innings. After a descent opening stand, Pakistan kept losing wickets at the worst time as Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny were bowling brilliantly. Both of them picked three wickets and conceded less than six runs per over. Pakistan stuttered to 250 all out and gave a reason for Bangladeshi supporters to celebrate into the night.
22 April, 2015. With an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series, a whitewash was in the offing. Thankfully for the Bangladeshi supporters at home and abroad, Mashrafe and co did not disappoint. They blew away Pakistan by eight wickets with 63 balls remaining in the match. “Banglawash” was accomplished in the most dominant manner. It was a day when the crowd at Mirpur was treated to a thoroughly professional performance from the Tigers.
Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan started well with Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali playing sensibly. Azhar scored his hundred and soon departed, giving Bangladesh bowlers a chance to come back in the game. Bangladeshi bowlers grabbed the chance with both hands and began to strike in regular intervals. From a commanding position of 3/2013 in the 39th over, Pakistan were all out for 250 with one over remaining in their innings. Arafat Sunny and Shakib Al Hasan kept up the pressure with tight bowling and picked up two wickets each. Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain struck late in the innings when Pakistan were desperate for big hits from their batters. As a bowling unit, Bangladesh were simply brilliant considering the flat, batting friendly wicket at Mirpur.Coming out to chase 251 for victory and a historic whitewash over Pakistan, Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar took on the Pakistani bowlers with impervious confidence. Their 145 opening partnership snuffed any chance of Pakistan coming back into the match. After consecutive centuries, Tamim made 64 from 76 balls (eight 4s, 1 6s) and made the series his personal best. Soumya remained not out with 127 runs from 110 balls (thirteen 4s, six 6s). He scored his first ODI hundred in the most spectacular fashion. His partnership with Mushfiq ensured there were no more hiccups along the way to a memorable series against Pakistan.
16 March, 2012. It was a day when Sachin Tendulkar grabbed the headlines with his 100th hundred in international cricket. With accolades and adulations flowing from all across the globe on Tendulkar’s remarkable feat, India seemed destined to top it off with a resounding victory over Bangladesh after posting 289/5 in 50 overs. Even the home crowd appeared slightly deflated after the Tendulkar, Kohli and Raina show. However, they were about to witness a terrific fight-back from the Tigers, on a day when they emerged as the real giant-killers of the Asia Cup tournament.
After the loss of Nazimuddin in the fifth over, Tamim Iqbal and Jahurul Islam built a solid foundation to chase down India’s massive total with a 113-runs partnership. Although the required run-rate touched 8 per over, Bangladeshi batters did not let the scoreboard pressure get to them. They kept rotating the strike with relative ease and dispatched the loose balls with thunderous applause from the home crowdAs Bangladesh went closer to the target, Indian bowlers looked helpless in the face of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim’s timely onslaught. When Mahmudullah smacked a boundary in the last over, Bangladeshi players came running out of the dressing room, congratulated and eventually mobbed their captain Mushfiqur. He scripted a famous victory that will have a permanent place in the hearts of Bangladeshi fans. 20 March, 2012. Three days after conquering India, Sri Lankan lions were the next challenge for the Tigers. Tigers went into this match with a new found confidence, and the self-belief to overcome tall odds. Bangladesh won the toss and invited Sri Lanka to bat first. Nazmul Hossain vindicated captain Mushfiqur Rahim’s decision with three big wickets before the tenth over. Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara were back in the pavilion with Sri Lanka reeling at 32 for 3.
The self-belief of Tigers was evident as the bowlers maintained their discipline while the fielders supported them all the way through. Chamara Kapugedera, Lahiru Thirimanne and Upul Tharanga were unable to break the shackles, and took their team to a below-par total of 232 runs in 49.5 overs.
When Bangladesh came out to chase the smallish target, Sri Lankan bowlers struck some early blows, but were unable to keep Tamim Iqbal quiet. His partnership with Shakib Al Hasan kept Bangladesh in the game before he was caught out for 59 runs from 57 balls. As the required run-rate was always within reach even after Shakib’s dismissal, Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah played sensibly to take Bangladesh home. In the end Tigers won by 5 wickets with 17 balls remaining in the match.
14 January, 2009. A day when Bangladeshi pacers Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain woke up on the right side of their beds, and surprised Sri Lankan batsmen with their spirited performance at Mirpur. After Bangladesh won the toss and invited Sri Lanka to bat first, Mashrafe was on the money from ball one. He dismissed Upul Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara for naught set the tone of the day for Tigers.
After Sanath Jayasuriya’s dismissal, Sri Lanka kept on losing wickets on regular intervals while Rubel Hossain polished off the lower middle order with four wickets to his name. Sri Lanka were eventually all out for 147 runs in this 31-overs match.In the chase of this modest total, Bangladesh faltered from the start. Two silly run-outs and Mushfiqur Rahim’s dismissal left Tigers tottering at 11/3. Shakib Al Hasan decided to take matters into his own hands and began belting the Sri Lankan bowlers all around the park. His 91-run partnership with Mohammad Ashraful took Bangladesh to the cusp of victory. The top Bangladeshi allrounder did not fail to deliver as he took his team home with some outstanding batting against bowlers like Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara, remaining unbeaten on 92 runs from only 69 balls.
17 October, 2010. Tigers were on the brink of making history. A chance at winning the ODI series against New Zealand undefeated. New Zealand were desperate to avoid the whitewash. As Bangladesh came out to bat after winning the toss, Kiwi bowlers began spiritedly and took wickets at an alarming rate for the Tigers. Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim got a decent start but were out in the thirties. With Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori sharing six wickets between them, Bangladesh limped to 174 runs in the 45th over.
The target did not look too challenging for New Zealand, but they had yet to come to terms with the slow wicket at Mirpur Stadium. When they came out to bat, they found Rubel Hossain bowling like a man possessed. Rubel and Abdur Razzak blew away New Zealand’s top order and left the Kiwis reeling at 20/5. From this perilous position, Grant Elliott and Daniel Vettori began to fight back and resurrect New Zealand’s chase.Playing relatively risk-free cricket, they notched up a 86-run partnership and looked like taking their team home before Shakib removed Vettori for a well-made 43. The match swung back in Bangladesh’s favour as New Zealand lost their ninth wicket, that of Andy Mckay with 30 more runs for victory. However, Kyle Mills kept chipping away at the target with the last man Hamish Bennett blocking resolutely. With 8 runs required of the last over, Mills struck the first ball from Rubel for a boundary. Two balls later, Rubel bowled him outright to give Bangladesh a 4-0 series victory over the Kiwis.
8 December, 2012. Fifth match of the Bangladesh versus West Indies ODI series, with both teams tied with two wins each. The series deciding match at Mirpur was a cliffhanger as Bangladesh and West Indies were desperate to come out on top. Bangladesh won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first. Bangladeshi bowlers came out firing in all cylinders and sent back three West Indian batsmen by the eighth over.
Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo stopped the rot as they batted with caution and kept the Bangladeshi bowlers at bay. Their 132-run partnership was broken when Pollard was bowled by Mominul Haque and suddenly, Bangladesh came back into the match. West Indian wickets fell at regular intervals and they were all out in the 48th over for only 217 runs.
The target seemed like a bridge too far for Bangladesh as Kemar Roach destroyed the top-order with his hostile bowling to leave the Tigers floundering at 30/3. Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim began consolidating the innings, and looked quite settled before their crucial 91-run partnership was broken by Sunil Narine. Narine struck again with Mushfiqur’s wicket but Nasir Hossain andMominul Haque were batting sensibly to take Bangladesh home. When Narine broke their partnership, Sohag Gazi’s cameo took Tigers to the cusp of victory but Kemar Roach came back with two quick wickets to intensify the drama at Mirpur. Finally, Nasir Hossain hit the winning runs and ensured a 3-2 series win for Bangladesh.