Tigers humiliatingly hunted by spirited Afghans

Sep 10, 2019

Dhaka (Bangladesh) September 10: Shakib al Hasan, the captain of Bangladesh side, came to bat after hours of wait due to rain only for a mission to salvage a draw and he vigorously cuts the first ball, bowled by his counterpart, leg-spinner Rashid Khan, to get caught behind in one of the ugliest manners under the circumstances. That shambolic ordeal along with the dejected walk back of Bangladesh cricket's darling to pavilion perfectly epitomizes the unforgettable Test match, arguably worst in Tigers' history, perhaps reaching its nadir point on Monday, ninth day of the ninth month in the 2019 calendar.
Persistent rain had kept the wickets at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium under cover for most of the day but it was not enough to wash-off humiliation that was destined for hosts Bangladesh. Afghanistan wrote history winning the game by 223 runs over a better ranked and experienced Test playing nation. While for Bangladesh it was yet another wakeup call in the recent months. The questionable cricket system of the country once again induced a heavy toll in the expense of country's pride.
Bangladesh, in the one-off Test against tourists Afghanistan, were never in the competition and they could sense a defeat waiting at the door at stumps on day dour. In the final day of the game on Monday, the prayers from the home dressing room and their supporters were evident. Rain was being asked to push the game to a draw. But as it happened the showers stopped and the covers were removed to have 70 minutes of play starting at 4.20 pm, enough time to reach a result. The players had got to middle once before this, right after lunch but only for seven minutes and 13 balls.
Bangladesh needed to survive 18.3 overs for a draw with four wickets in hand with established batsmen in captain Shakib Al Hasan and Soumya Sarkar at the crease. While for the new team in Test cricket, Afghanistan needed as many as four wickets.
One can easily realise it was matter of time for the confident Afghanistan bowlers to sweep off the remaining Bangladesh batters. The excitement in the Afghanistan players was clearly visible. Since morning a member from the touring dressing room would come out to the middle to assess the condition when the rain had slowed down. And when the time came to get to action finally, they were ready in the whites in a jiffy.
After Shakib's departure for 44, the herculean effort of surviving the remaining of the overs had come up on Soumya with Mehidy Hasan. The duo held to the motion for almost nine overs before Rashid struck again and this time to clean the remaining of Bangladesh wickets for good. Mehidy on 12 was pinned in front of the stumps and despite umpires verdict of leg before looked plumb, Bangladesh batsman went for a review only to squander it.
Taijul became victim for that waste as no reviews were left and he had to return to pavilion after umpire rose his finger in response of Rashid's another leg before appeal despite the ball kissed the bat before hitting the southpaw's pad.
The jack in the batting lineup, Nayeem Hasan, thus entered into the arena and Soumya had to face most of the remaining balls to save his team's ignominy.
But the established batsmen seemed to misread the script, another evident sign of Tigers' inability of reading match situations in longer format, as in the second delivery of the 60th over the left-handed batsman took a surprising single and put Nayeen on strike. Half way through the crease Soumya would come to sense and he had his hands on the hand by the time he finished the single.
To Nayeem's credit he blocked four remaining deliveries of Zahir Khan but the pressure was perhaps too much for Soumya, one of the finest stroke makers in limited overs game, to endure.
He became the sixth victim of Rashid in the next over when he was caught bad-pad at silly amidst the euphoria of Afghans on writing the most glorious chapters in the annals of the war-torn country's game.
Source: Dhaka Tribune

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