Sunday, 21 April, 2019

Zimbabwe Avalanche Bangladesh

Published on: 6:21 pm - Tuesday | November 6, 2018

Zimbabwe playing far better all round cricket avalanched a pathetic Bangladesh team hammering 151 runs defeat within three and a little over half days in the first ever test at Sylhet International stadium.

Set to score 321 for an improbable victory Bangladesh was again bundled out for 169 without showing any will to fight and survive. Zimabean spinning trio Mavuta (4/21), Sikanadar Raza ( 3/41)  and WP Masakadza 2/33 took the wind out of Bangladesh sail as the Bangladesh boat capsized in the mid river. The manner in which Bangladesh lost created possibility of a probable series white wash unless Bangladesh regroups and turns around too soon. However, with tails up Zimbabweans would be hard nut to crack.

It was the only third victory away from home for the Zimbabweans and the first since 2001. Due credits must be given to the visitors for wonderful turning around after getting a comprehensive white wash in the ODI series only a few days in the past. For Bangladesh the test night mare got extended and this time a crushing defeat against one of the weakest team in world cricket. The home team batted for 51+63.1 = 114.1 overs in all in two innings on a wicket which according to their captain Mahmudullah was not too difficult for batting. Zimabawe in only their first innings batted for 117.3 overs.

There can not any excuse for one or two deserving players missing for poor selection. Even the senior players who are mainstays in the team batted terribly poorly showing no class, quality or demonstrating commitment or application. It was complete barin freeze and mid block the way the entire team played the test. It will now be huge task for the team think tank working out strategy for the second and only other test at Dhaka for saving the humiliation of getting white washed.

If one views in retrospect one can not link much with the nature and quality of the wicket for the abysmal performance of the team in batting.

In the first innings Zimbabwean pacers Jervis and Chatara rocked Bangladesh and in the second Zimbabwean spinners crushed Bangladesh. The wicket did not have anything for the pacers neither it was a spinners’ paradise. Bangladeshi batsmen fell to their own follies. Amazingly not too in the distant past most of these batsmen blasted this attack in ODI format. How can the change of format make such a huge difference. Take no credit away from the Zimbabweans. They had right measures of the home team and deservedly won the test.

Tamim and Shakib were also not there in the ODI. So they can not come into the equation. The front line Bangladesh batsmen do not regularly appear in the local longer version cricket. Ironically BCB selectors do not consider the better performers of domestic cricket in longer version as international class. Add some iffy selection of some players. The poor batting of Bangladesh in test cricket is a well known phenomena for a while.

Then why Neil Mackenzie is engaged for limited over cricket only as special batting coach?  Tushar Imran and Naeem Islam are prolific scorers in local cricket. How can players be unfit when they constinuously score 100s in hot humid tiring conditions at home? Did the fitter players batted at all well in the test? Why was Shanto preferred over tried and tested Mohammad Mithun or Mosaddek? In what format Shanto looked better? Why Saifuddin was ignored? What was the point of playing with one pace bowler? Did 7+1 = 8 batsmen option work?

Still I would say bowlers did exceptionally well. Taijul had a haul of 11 wickets, Nazmul Opu and Mehedy Miraj did their job. Batting was terrible. Imrul, Liton. Mominul , Mahmudullah , Shanto , Mushfique looked pretty ordinary in  both the innings . Only the debutant Ariful played well within himself proving that batting was not much difficult on the wicket. Only a few days back Imrul was in superlative form. He got out to poor stroke in the first innings and was looking tentative in the second though he scored some runs. Liton looked pretty ordinary in either innings.

Mominul possibly lost his confidence from continued chopping and changing. He requires mentoring for regaining his confidence. I would blame Mahmudullah and Mushfique more. In absence of Tamim and Shakib they were to shoulder the team. But they played irresponsible strokes in either innings. Can not say much about Shanto. He is not yet international class. Playing him was not doing justice to him also.  Bangladesh has to go back to drawing room and work out strategy. Soumya , Mithun and Tushar Imran must come into consideration . Bangladesh must forget Sylhet disaster as one of the night mare.

As for the Zimbabwe it was wonderful come back. Their experienced batsmen Masakdaza, Williams, Moore batted like true champions. Their patience, application and commitment were exemplary. The entire team bowled and fielded with purpose. They read each Bangladesh batsmen well and played to their patience. Sikandar Raza isan experienced all rounder. But we are particularly impressed with young leggie Mavuta.  Chattara and Jervis also bowled exceptionally well on a wicket which had very little for the pacers.

Zimbabwe deserves all the credit for a wonderful test victory. With more and more opportunity they will get back their past glory.

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