WT20 : Bangladesh Holds Nerve To Clinch Thriller
For nearly three-fourths of its Group A ICC World Twenty20 2016 clash against Bangladesh in Dharamsala on Wednesday (March 9),Netherlands looked set to pull off a big upset.
The win was made possible by an unbeaten 58-ball 83 from Tamim Iqbal that was followed by a combined effort from the bowlers. Netherlands opted to field first and did well to restrict Bangladesh to 153 for 7, but lacked firepower in its batting, managing only 145 for 7. That the only six of the Netherlands innings came in the 19th over via its No. 9 batsman should tell a story in itself.
Bangladesh ended on the winnings side but it will probably be the first to concede that its batting was far from at its best. Its innings was a case of taking one step forward and two behind. The forward steps were taken by Tamim but his partners struggled to match him. Tamim remained unbeaten and was involved in eight partnerships, the best of them being only 42. While Tamim missed an opportunity to get Bangladesh’s highest individual T20I score – 89 – narrowly, the next best score of the innings was just 15.
The innings started on a fortuitous note for Bangladesh when Paul van Meekeren dropped Soumya Sarkar at third-man in the first over. Van Meekeren himself made amends two overs later when he found Sarkar’s outside edge with his first delivery.
Timm van der Gugten and van Meekeren, the Netherlands pacers, found the ideal length on a slightly slow pitch, making life difficult for Bangladesh’s batsmen – the Power Play yielded only 33 runs.
The momentum changed for a brief while with the arrival of spin in the form of Roelof van der Merwe. Tamim and Sabbir Rahman smashed him for sixes down the ground but the left-arm spinner had the final say, trapping Sabbir leg before a ball after being hit for six.
He could have had Tamim too, but Wesley Barresi missed a regulation stumping chance with the batsman on 46. Tamim made the most of the reprieve, continuing on his merry ways and going past his half-century but losing partners as well.
Shakib Al Hasan slashed Peter Borren to short third-man before van der Gugten went through the heart of Bangladesh’s batting, bowling Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim in the 15th over. By then, Bangladesh had gone from a comfortable 78 for 2 to a wobbly 112 for 5 in the space of four overs.
That Bangladesh even got past 150 was thanks to timely sixes by Mashrafe Mortaza and Arafat Sunny.
Netherlands’ innings started in a fashion similar to Bangladesh’s. Barresi fell early to Al-Amin Hossain but it still had a good start, powered by an attacking Stephan Myburgh. The left-handed opener saw out the pacers but pounced on every run-scoring opportunity provided by the spinners.
Myburgh’s three boundaries in one Nasir Hossain over took Netherlands to 39 in the Power Play but the off-spinner had the last laugh when he went through Myburgh’s attempted sweep two overs later. Ben Cooper kept the momentum going but he too fell trying to up the ante against Shakib’s left-arm spin.
That left Netherlands on 77 for 3 in the 12th over – very similar to where Bangladesh was at this point in its innings. The difference, though, was that Netherlands was chasing and had a huge factor called scoreboard pressure to deal with.
Tom Cooper and Borren tried to deal with the required rate by playing shots off almost every ball but that wasn’t easy on a tricky pitch. It was made tougher by the discipline and smartness of Bangladesh’s bowlers in the middle overs. The wily Shakib slowed things down with his subtle variations, Sunny provided able support while Mortaza changed his pace regularly to keep the batsmen guessing.
The odd boundary kept Netherlands in with a chance but its hopes were killed when it lost two wickets in the space of five balls. Borren holed out to Shakib at deep mid-wicket two balls after being dropped in the same area while van der Merwe followed in the next over, edging Mortaza behind.
The exit of van der Merwe, who Netherlands looks at as a finisher, left Tom Cooper with all the work to do. But when he too fell to Al-Amin off the first ball of the 19th over, the game seemed all but over.
Mudassar Bukhari and Pietar Seelar threatened a late twist by smashing 16 runs off Al-Amin’s remaining five balls to bring down the equation to 17 from the last over. However, Taskin Ahmed bowled six pinpoint yorkers in the final over to end Netherlands’ challenge.