Tigers ready to start World Cup
Bangladesh won their first ODI back in 1998 against Kenya in Hyderabad. Since then, they have taken 21 years more to win their first title in a multi-national cricketing event. Interestingly, both of these historical moments of Bangladesh cricket came on the same date- May 17.
On May 17 in 1998, Bangladesh were a team who used to love cricket but failed to live up to the expectation in the field. But on May 17 in 2019, Bangladesh are a team who can beat any opponent in the world on their day.
In the intervening period, Bangladesh became a strong contender in ODI cricket. The difference is made by many ups and lows, many heartbreaks on several occasions. It took many sleepless nights for Bangladesh to reach their adulthood— winning a title in a multi-national event.
Mohammad Rafique, who was the main architect of Bangladesh’s first-ever ODI win back in 1998, believes the first multi-national trophy came after a long hard work of Bangladesh team. According to him, it will now create more expectations for them to do better in the World Cup, where they are set to start their campaign on Sunday when they take on South Africa at The Oval in London.
While talking to UNB exclusively, the former national superstar said: ‘It was a great win for the Tigers. I have watched the game on TV. It was a hard-fought victory. I think Bangladesh should have won a title before. We missed it in Sri Lanka last year. We missed it again in the last Asia Cup in Dubai.’
In 1997, Bangladesh won the ICC Trophy final against Kenya, which had paved the way for the Tigers to their first World Cup appearance in 1999. The match was curtailed due to rain, and now, Bangladesh their first-ever title in the curtailed-over match again. Rafique believes this coincidence has a good indicator for the future.
‘We had won a curtailed-over match against Kenya in ICC Trophy. After that, we beat Pakistan in the World Cup. Now, we won our first title in another curtailed-over match and the World Cup is coming. I think it will bring good luck for us,’ Rafique told UNB.
Bangladesh suffered their first heartbreak in 2009 when they failed to win the title of a tri-nation series against Sri Lanka. Three years later, the Tigers fell short of two runs in the final of Asia Cup 2012 against Pakistan.
The painful run continued when Bangladesh lost another Asia Cup final against India in 2016 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. That was the first Asia Cup held in the T20 format. After that, the Tigers capitulated against to Sri Lanka in a tri-series at home in 2018, which was the year in which Bangladesh lost three finals.
The first one was against Sri Lanka and the second was in Sri Lanka against India in the final of Nidahas Trophy. The pain became more painful when the Tigers yield again to India in the final of Asia Cup 2018.
Bangladesh became the chokers in the finals. But the time had come in Dublin to erase their history of choking in the bigger stage and the Tigers took advantage this time outshooting West Indies in a tough situation.
At the end of the match, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said it was ‘just the start’ of many more wins to come in the days ahead. He had also said before the departure to Ireland that a trophy can make the current Bangladesh set-up hungry for more big achievements. He likened it to an ‘appetiser’.
Now the time has come for the Tigers to prove their hunger for more.