Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal drops a catch
Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal drops a catch from India's Rohit Sharma during their World Cup group stage match at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Image Credit: AFP

Birmingham: Bangladesh’s World Cup dream ended at Edgbaston with India ousting them through a 28-run victory. They fought well, but the Tigers were tamed by the Indian team that sparkled in all departments.

Rohit Sharma capitalised on a dropped catch by Tamim Iqbal while on nine to hit a century and send Bangladesh out of the tournament. It is now being said that Iqbal dropped the World Cup; but Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and their coach Steve Rixon consider it unfair to put the entire blame for their defeat on him. Journalists also questioned Iqbal’s contribution as a batsman, and pointed out that the drop was so costly for Bangladesh. However, they hailed the team’s fighting spirit.

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“Rohit’s catch was obviously disappointing, but those things happen on the field,” said coach Rixon. “We cannot blame Tamim for that. Things could have been different if we had a little bit of luck. Shakib Al Hasan has been in superb form, and Mushfiqur [Rahim] batted beautifully, but someone should have gone on to score about 80-90 runs more. We also had a good performance by Mustafizur Rahman [5-59]. So I would surely say we tried our best, and we will again give our best in or last game against Pakistan.”

While discussing the dropped catch, Rixon pointed out: “Rohit Sharma is a wonderful batsman in world cricket. You give guys like him or [Virat] Kohli a chance, and you may well pay the price. Unfortunately the person who dropped him was Tamim, and he’s developed into one of our safer pair of hands in the outfield. So it was a little bit of a surprise. But he’s human, and we’re all human. I’ve dropped many catches in my life, I think most of us who’ve played the game has done that too. The only thing is that sometimes it can be very, very costly, as it proved to be today.”

Was Iqbal, one of their finest batsmen, a failure this time? The coach disagreed totally saying: “Tamim gives his performances wholeheartedly. He would have loved to score more runs, and he’s got a lot of pride in the number of runs he scored. He has tried his very best, but sometimes it’s not to be. He played some great shots today, and I thought it would be his day, but sadly, again it wasn’t to be.”

Rixon also consoled a disappointed Iqbal: “That’s cricket. Sometimes the harder you try, the worse it gets. But he’s definitely going to be around ... he’s young enough to be there for the next World Cup.”

Surely the coach is a happy man since his team managed to restrict the Indian total and also restrain a great finisher like Mahendra Singh Dhoni? “I thought we did fantastically well after that opening blitz by Rohit,” he said. “We were very, very happy to be chasing that score. It could well have been 370, 380, even 400 at one stage. I am very pleased with the fighting spirit of the boys to come back into the game. Had we started off a little better, especially in the first hour, things could have been better,” was his frank admission.

Summing up his team’s performance so far in the World Cup, Rixon believes his team could have done better. “Although we’ve picked up only three victories, we’ve also pushed a lot of the big teams throughout the competition. And with a little bit of luck, we may well have been one of the top four.”