Sunday, April 08, 2007



April 8th, 2007: Quiztion of the Day - 27

WHATMORE! What more you want to make a mark in the Cricket’s biggest event than seeing your youngsters full of exuberance beating the World’s number one ranked team. Not only just defeating them but thrashing them in such way that England and West Indies can now suddenly fancy their chances of winning against the South Africans themselves and reach the last-four stage. This match will go down in the history of Bangladesh cricket as the defining moment of its "boys becoming men".

This win is much bigger than the one they have registered against India. I really doubt if India could have defeated South Africa in this match if they had played against them as they were supposed instead of Bangladesh who threw them out of World Cup.

It’s an emphatic victory that will be reverberating in Bangladesh for years to come like India’s victory in 1983 World Cup finals. Mohammad Mohammad Ashraful was at his scintillating best displaying the shades of another great cricketer from right across the Border, when he was of Ashraful's age. Mohammad Ashraful came into bat when Bangladesh were 73 for 3 of twenty overs and there were no signs of the South Africa letting Bangladesh of the hook. In next seven over Bangladesh could add just 27 runs losing the wicket of Saqibul Hassan. 102 for 4 at the end of 28th over with both the batsmen at the crease Ashraful on 11 and Aftab Ahmed on 2, struggling to take singles or unable to force boundaries, the match looked all but over.

Graeme Smith started looking like a worried man for the first time only when Aftab Ahmed carted two huge sixes of Justin Kemp’s single over of the innings. Smith brought back Ntini into the attack just to make sure Bangladesh doesn’t take advantage of part-time bowlers. Ntini did respond with a wicket though it took a great effort from Andre Nel to pull of a catch almost at his laces ending a 76 run fifth wicket partnership. Both Ashraful and Musfiqur started to build the innings before the unfortunate run-out took place. Mushfiqur Rahim sacrificed his wicket after reacting slowly to Ashraful’s call and both ended up on the same side of the wicket with score reading 179 for 6, a total of 200 looked beyond the reach of the Bangladesh Tigers and the game looked like it’s going through its anticipated course.

But Mashrafe Mortaza and Mohammad Ashraful had other plans to upset the applecart of South Africa. They added 56 runs of just 30 deliveries to take the score to 233 with 16 balls left in the innings to make sure Bangladesh will have at least a defendable total of 250 plus. Ashraful’s delightful drives and innovative shots over the Keeper’s head would have made any batsman proud. His gem of an innings of 87 was worth more than his 100 of 101 balls against Australia in their 2005 Nat-West Trophy win at Cardiff. Mortaza showed signs of developing into a big hitting all rounder. Both Ashraful (22) and Mortaza (23) are still in their early twenties and the World of Cricket will certainly hear a lot about them next decade or so. Ashraful’s 87 is the highest score for Bangladesh in World Cup and so is their total.

A target of 252 was not going to be easy for South Africa with Bangladesh opting for three spinners to play against the weakness of their batsmen. If they were going to win they needed a big opening partnership and their anchor man Jacques Kallis to stay at the wicket till the end. Both things did not materialize. With Smith going early and Kallis departing for 32 by 16th over and the score reading just 62 it was never going to be easy.

Then Abdul Razzak produced a beauty to get AB de Villiers clean bowled and Prince was found short of his crease when Mohammad Rafique whipped off the bails from a superb throw from Aftab, writing was on the wall. Gibbs’ calf strain injury which prevented him from batting at his usual position did not help the situation either. The run rate started to climb as the spinners were introduced. In the end it was really embarrassing to see the likes of Pollock and Gibbs batting at no 7 trying to bat out the overs so that they could at least improve the run rate giving up the hopes of winning. Gibbs did remain unbeaten on 56 with the aid of the runner and South Africa must be wondering if only he had batted at his usual batting position.

Bangladesh’ first ever win against South Africa is a tribute to the young Bangladesh’s and their coach to come out of two morale shattering losses and crush the South Africans. Super 8s games will now be more interesting as this defeat of South Africa throws the tournament wide open. For South Africa it’s a big blow as now they may find it not only very difficult to qualify for the semi-finals but also avoid meeting Australia there.

Today’s ‘Quiztion of the Day’ relates to the Bangladesh victories in World Cup. Here it is:

How many Bangladeshi cricketers were part of all of Bangladesh’s World Cup wins? Name them.

Remember to email your answers for each quiz individually to with the subject line as 'Quiztion of the Day - X' (X being the question number) through out the tournament duration. Results will be first posted on website within a week of the World Cup Final.


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