By Azad Majumder | Bangladesh failed to cross the last hurdle in a multi-team event once again when they lost to India in the final of Nidahas Trophy by four-wicket in Colombo on Sunday. The Tigers came within one ball off pulling off a pulsating win, which, if they had succeeded to manage, would surely open a new chapter in their history.
Bangladeshi fans were disappointed without a doubt as the team came so close to winning this game. Players wept in the field after Dinesh Karthik lofted the final delivery of Soumya Sarkar over the cover fence. Fans went to the bed with tears in their eyes. There was no further cobra dance anywhere on the ground or back in the home as the defeat broke the hearts of passionate Bangladeshi fans.
Credit to Bangladesh
But it did not take long for many of them to realize that there was hardly any shame in this defeat. Bangladesh lost to a better side, which, despite the absence of their several key players, dominated the game until the last three overs. It was a credit of Bangladesh that they made a contest out of it. Mustafizur Rahman provided another example of how only one good over can quickly change the scenario in a Twenty20 game.
India, with six wickets in hand, needed just 35 runs from 18 balls when he came to bowl the 18th over. No one would give the bowling side a chance to win the game from that position. But with six clever deliveries, he changed the equation for India to 34 off 12 balls. Now, it was the batting side which went under pressure.
19th over by Rubel Hossain
Many fans and few experts had criticized Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan for giving the ball to Rubel Hossain in 19th over. Bangladesh had no other regular bowlers left, so Shakib knew if he used Rubel in this over, he would have to rely on a part-timer or an under-used spinner for the final over. Yet, he had to take the risk, because Rubel was their best bowler not just in this game, but throughout the tournament.
Rubel did hardly anything wrong apart from trying to bowl the first three deliveries with force. He conceded 22 runs to give India a renewed hope but again, Soumya bowled the last over with his hearts out to take it to the last bowl. Karthik had to take his chance in the last ball and he was successful.
India won the game but the way they celebrated after the win against the 10th ranked side that came as the victory of Bangladesh. It was no less precious than the title of an ordinary competition, which we would not probably see again to be hosted in next 25 years. The victory came for Bangladesh in many shapes, which one might not see in the record book, but could very well be reflected in Bangladesh’s performance in the coming days.
The Tigers came to this tournament to regain their self-confidence after an underwhelming performance in recent weeks. After a disastrous performance in South Africa last year and defeats against Sri Lanka at home in all three formats, Bangladesh needed a good result badly to lift their morale. When they defeated Sri Lanka twice in the tournament, both in extraordinary circumstances, they achieved this goal.
Final berth a bonus
A place in the final was just a bonus. The title could have been a further motivation surely, but how they played in the final that came as also a big achievement. Bangladesh were previously only good at wasting their strong position. This was probably one rare occasion when they fought their way back into the contest to put the oppositions under pressure. It’s a big positive and Bangladesh must not underestimate it.
Tk 1 core ($12,000) incentives
After they won the acrimonious league match against Sri Lanka to confirm their place in the final, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan, who accompanied the team in Sri Lanka throughout the tournament as their de facto cheerleader, announced Tk 1 core ($12,000) incentives for the players. We can see this kind of incentives only if something unexpected happens. This announcement would tell you the BCB president did not expect the team to qualify for the final. He made Bangladesh feeling inferior. But players kept their heads high. They did not give up without a fight.
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It’s true that despite their every effort, Bangladesh have now lost five consecutive finals in multi-team events. There can hardly be any consolation for so many near misses. But every cloud has a silver line. The silver lining in Bangladesh’s four-wicket loss to India is their fighting spirit, their never-say-die attitude. This was the missing trait of Bangladesh team in the past. A win in a big final may be just around the corner for them