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Bangladesh sail into Super10 after Tamim ton

Wisden India logo Wisden India 13-03-2016
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When the schedule of the World Twenty20 was first announced, not many would have expected that the Bangladesh-Oman Group A match would be a knockout.

Oman had done well to stretch their life in the tournament till the final game of the first round but Bangladesh, led by an unbeaten 63-ball 103 from Tamim Iqbal, proved too strong and ensured there would be no fairytales.

Tamim’s whirlwind knock was the Twenty20 International century by a Bangladesh batsman, and carried his side to a massive 180 for 2 in their 20 overs after being put in to bat. Sabbir Rahman too contributed with 44 from 26 balls.

Oman’s chase was, unsurprisingly, marred by two rain interruptions after which the target was revised to 120 in 12 overs. Oman did not even come close and just about managed to bat through, ending on 65 for 9 to subside to a 54-run loss via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

More than the number of runs Tamim has scored, Bangladesh will be happy with the manner in which he has batted according to situation. Against Netherlands, when wickets were tumbling at the other end, he took his time, paced his innings and made an invaluable 83 not out. In the following rain-curtailed match against Ireland, he unleashed the avatar he is known for, smashing a quickfire 47.

On Sunday (March 13), Tamim combined the two approaches to perfection. He gave himself a little bit of time to settle down on a slow pitch, before opening up for a relentless attack.

The innings started with Soumya Sarkar struggling to get bat on ball. He plodded his way to a 22-ball 12 before falling in the seventh over to Ajay Lalchetta, the left-arm spinner, while attempting a big hit.

But the exit worked in Bangladesh’s favour. Tamim found an able ally in Sabbir, who unlike Sarkar, adjusted to the pitch quickly and found the boundaries with deft touches.

It allowed Tamim to feel comfortable enough to take his chances and runs began flowing freely. He reached his half-century off 35 balls and celebrated it with a massive six over long-off as Bangladesh’s 100 came in the 13th over.

It was a great position to be in given the pitch was tacky, and the perfect platform for the carnage that followed. Oman unleashed a barrage of spinners but Tamim and Sabbir countered them by stepping out and hitting sixes down the ground at will.

Sabbir was bowled around his legs by Khawar Ali’s leg-spin off the last ball of the 16th over, ending the 97-run second-wicket stand, but there was no end to Oman’s miseries. Tamim kept hitting sixes for fun, and went past his century in the 19th over, driving Bilal Khan through mid-off. It was a fitting way to bring up the milestone considering he scored most of his runs down the ground.

Shakib Al Hasan too had his share of fun and Bangladesh ended on a score that would be well beyond Oman’s reach.

Oman’s attack wasn’t short of spirit or discipline but lacked the experience. The pitch required them to bowl a number of cutters or slow bouncers, whereas they kept bowling too full or on a good length. It didn’t help that the fielding was shoddy. Bilal, though, was an exception, conceding just 16 runs from his four overs.

Oman needed a miracle of sorts from their batsmen, but once Zeeshan Maqsood and Khawar Ali were taken out by Bangladesh’s pacers, the challenge was all but over. Jatinder Singh and Adnan Ilyas hung around for a while before rain arrived a little after 10pm, changing the equation to an improbable 111 more needed from nine overs.

Twelve more balls, two more wickets, and another spell of rain changed the equation to 75 more runs needed from 22 balls. Oman combust after the break handing Shakib – who finished with 4 for 15 – some easy wickets.

The best side going through, and lots of rain. It was perhaps the most apt finish to the Dharamsala leg of the first-round stage.

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