Bengaluru, June 21: Bangladesh fought like tigers in their crucial match against Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Thursday before slumping to a 48-run loss.
Chasing a mammoth 382 in 50 overs, Mashrafe Mortaza's kept on pursuing the target and they almost pulled off a miracle. The Tigers had a similar target against England a few weeks back at Cardiff and they lost the game by 106 runs despite an impressive century from Shakib Al Hasan.
Against Australia, wicket-keeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim hit the three-figure mark as Bangladesh ended up at 333 for eight, their highest score in ODIs.
Bangladesh now have five points from six games with two wins, three losses and one wash-out. That wash-out could hurt them at the end for the match was a relatively easier opponent - Sri Lanka. The Tigers have their remaining games against Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Of these, they can fancy their chances against Afghanistan and Pakistan while against India, they will undoubtedly be extra charged to avenge the losses in two finals last year as well as the defeat in the 2015 quarterfinals. However, even six points from three matches might not be enough to take them through to their first semifinal since the top four teams are going from strength to strength.
But irrespective of what the end result is, Bangladesh have been a true revelation in this tournament. The team started showing its mettle since the 2007 edition when they stunned India and South Africa. They had a quiet 2011, perhaps because of the home pressure, but came back strongly in the 2015 edition to make the quarterfinals. This year, they have a golden chance to produce their best-ever performance by making the last four.
Exactly 20 years since they had made their World Cup in the same England, Bangladesh have grown as a batting powerhouse. Their core group comprising Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah has shouldered the batting responsibility for quite a few years now. The move to push Shakib has paid off for the Tigers as the left-hand all-rounder has been scoring consistently.
Bangladesh's big worry, however, is their bowling and to an extent fielding. Although they have been one of the sides apart from the top ones to score 300-plus consistently, they are also leaking that many runs while bowling. They allowed South Africa to reach 309 after scoring 330; let New Zealand off after scoring 244 to lose by 2 wickets; gave away 386 runs against England; conceded 321 against the West Indies and now gifting Australia 381. While their batsmen managed to undo the bowlers' shortcoming against the Caribbeans, it is difficult to replicate the same against top teams.
Ageing skipper Mortaza has been a disappointment in this World Cup while Mohammad Saifuddin has been giving away too many runs despite taking wickets. Two major pacers of the team who have impressed in the past - Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain - too have been less effective in terms of containing the scoring. In the spinning department, Mosaddek Hossain is inconsistent while Shakib Al Hasan would have liked to pick some more than his five scalps.