Dubai: Legendary Australian skipper Steve Waugh’s immortal words to Herschelle Gibbs “mate, you just dropped the World Cup” resonates again when Tamim Iqbal floored Rohit Sharma when the Indian opener was on nine in the fifth over at Edgbaston. A big turning point.
Just as the dropped catch by Gibbs in the semi-finals, also at Edgbaston, ended South Africa’s dream of winning the cup, Iqbal virtually dropped the World Cup as the narrow loss suffered against India ended Bangladesh’s hopes of winning the trophy. It’s over and out for the Tigers.
India, coming in after suffering their first loss in this edition, would have been eager to regain their winning momentum, but their opening combination has not been clicking regularly after Shikhar Dhawan left the team midway due to injury. Without the right start, the precious wicket of Rohit Sharma and the suspect Indian middle order, Bangladesh could have turned it to their advantage.
However, it was not the case and the true story had a different ending. Rohit Sharma went on to score his fourth century in this World Cup, a sore point for Bangladesh.
It’s still fresh in one’s memory how the dashing opener, Iqbal, flayed the Indian bowlers while chasing a meagre target in the Group B clash at Port of Spain in 2007 World Cup. Two editions later, now Iqbal, the hero of the win, has turned into a villain for Bangladesh.
Rohit Sharma’s catch against Bangladesh has always been a talking point. There was an outrage in Dhaka after the Indian opener was caught off a full toss in the 40th over of their quarter-final in the 2015 World Cup in Melbourne. But the umpires ruled it a no ball, while the replays suggest the ball was only waist-high when the contact was made. Rohit Sharma has been riding his luck in this World Cup as he got a reprieve early in the innings before going on to score a century against England in the previous game.
Bangladesh’s stunning campaign has come to a sad end and my heart goes out for the incredible performance of Shakib Al Hassan, who has been carrying the team on his shoulders so far. Shakib is in line to win the best player of the tournament award, but holding the World Cup trophy would be more sweeter to the gifted all-rounder.
In my opinion, dame luck did not smile on Mashrafe Mortaza’s team today as they were unfortunate to lose talented batsman Mahmadullah, who was dropped after failing a fitness test due to calf strain.
Even in the past Bangladesh have been unlucky to lose to India. How would one forget the meltdown from a winning position in the Twenty20 World Cup before Mahendra Singh Dhoni ran out Mustafizur Rahman to give the hosts the win by a single run in Bengaluru in 2016.
With this win Virat Kohli’s men have booked their rightful place in the semi-finals, but the team selection is highly debatable. India went in with just five bowlers and four wicketkeepers, including KL Rahul. If any of the bowlers would have come in for severe punishment then either Rohit Sharma or Kohli should have come in to bowl the overs. Certainly, Ravindra Jadeja deserves a chance, especially the way he has been fielding as a substitute and coming up with stunning catches!
Sadly, Bangladesh did not capitalise on India’s weakness and kept losing wickets. The result could have been different if they had patiently waited until the end, as two overs still remain for them.
India once again floundered after a wonderful start and managed to score only 63 runs in the last ten overs. A pedestrian effort!
Though the Tigers have lost this contest, they have to face Pakistan in their final group game. Whatever be the outcome, they deserve a salute for the manner they had played as a team and having the honour of being the only team to chase a target of over 300 in this World Cup.