Published:  01:06 AM, 19 September 2023

Young players step up for Bangladesh in Asia Cup

Young players step up for Bangladesh in Asia Cup Pacer TanzimHasanSakib who was the part of that team, shone brightly on his debut against India. -BCB
Amid the rain interruption, the Asia Cup finally ended after India clinched the trophy for the eighth time in a lopsided contest against co-host Sri Lanka.
The final match was also interrupted by rain but when it started India bowlers, led by JaspritBumrah and Mohammed Siraj ran Sri Lanka ragged to dismiss them for only 50 runs in 15.2 overs and eventually led the side to a 10-wicket victory.

While this 10-wicket defeat was utterly embarrassing for Sri Lanka in front of their home crowd, one team also rued for not putting up the performance they expected. Bangladesh were the team, which came here with high expectation. In the recent time, though the Tigers' performance was not praiseworthy, they wanted a mental boost through the tournament for the World Cup.

But at the end, their performance was mix-bagged. It could have been tagged as worst easily had they not beat India in the last game of the Super Four phase.

A total of six teams, split into two groups, took part in the tournament, which was initially supposed to be hosted by Pakistan alone. But the political turmoil between Pakistan and India forced the tournament to be held in hybrid model for the first time. Most of the matches including final was held in Sri Lanka.

The schedule of the tournament was such that there was possibility of India vs Pakistan clash for thrice including the final. But the aspiration of the organizers was not fulfilled as Pakistan failed to make it final. Rather they finished last in the Super Four phase.

As it expectedly Pakistan and India moved to the Super Four from their group, which also involved minnow Nepal. But the other group was a real death group from where Bangladesh and Sri Lanka finally moved up.

Coming as favourite, Bangladesh tasted a five-wicket defeat to Sri Lank a defeat that left their promotion in Super Four in limbo. However they showed a spirited performance in the second match against Afghanistan, positing a 334-5, which was their highest total on foreign soil. Afghanistan were able to put up 245 as Bangladesh secured a 89-run victory to confirm their Super Four.

Later, Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan to join Bangladesh. However Bangladesh hardly find their rhythm in the Super Four until the game against India. In the first match against Pakistan, their shortcomings of playing the genuine pace was widely exposed as Pakistan thrashed them by seven wickets and later Sri Lanka beat them by 21 runs in a spicy wicket.

On both matches, Bangladesh's batters failed to prop up their game.

Shakib returns to form

When Bangladesh take on India in their last game, their final hope was completely ruined. But India which had already confirmed the final, decided to make experiment as it was norms. India brought up five changes to the team but Bangladesh also made six changes and handed debut to pacer TanzimHasanSakib.

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan truly lived up to his credential in this match as he made 80 with the willow to give Bangladesh a competitive total (265-8) and later his own bowling and intelligent bowling changes meant India were all out for 259. Debutant Sakib gave the side a good start, taking Rohit Sharma out for duck in the second ball of the chase. And that proved to be deceive eventually.

Shanto injury hurt Bangladesh

Bangladesh's mission Asia Cup was jeopardized by injury and absences of key players. Tamim Iqbal was ruled out before the tournament and Liton Das suffered from illness. Bangladesh later received the massive blow when their most inform batter Najmul Hossain Shantogot injured and returned to the country.

Shanto scored 89 runs against Sri Lanka and then followed it with 104 against Afghanistan. Such was his impact that Bangladesh found no suitable batter in No.3 position. And such was his impact that he was the Bangladesh best batsman in the tournament, playing just two matches in which he made 193. Shakib Al Hasan was second to him with 173 runs in five matches while MehidyHasanMiraz with 158 was the other batter to score over 150 runs.

Young players step up

But still Bangladesh avoided the shamble, largely thanks to young players, specially the former Under-19 World Cup winning players. TowhidHridoy, TanzimHasanSakib who were the part of that team, shone brightly with Hridoymaking two half-centuries. His two fifties came at a moment when the critics lashed at him saying that he is the player for big stage. He then responded with a 85-run against Sri Lanka to single-handedly drive the side to almost a victory and then scored crucial 54 against India. Sakib meanwhile made a dream debut with 2-32 and his handed RohitSharma a second-ball duck which was instrumental in Bangladesh's six-run victory.

Taskin, Shorfiul form a formidable new ball pair

Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam didn't play the last game of Bangladesh against India. But still they were highest wicket-takers for Bangladesh. The new ball pair took 16 wickets in combined with Taskin taking nine wickets in five matches and Shoriful grabbing seven wickets in four matches. That stat itself proved how formidable duo they can be in World Cup.

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