Oct 30, 2018ESPNcricinfo staffFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint
This was no David slaying Goliath, simply a case of a weaker team playing to its potential and a strong team failing to keep to its standards.
Rahul Dravid’s decision to bat, with the world’s best batting line-up – on paper at least – and with Bangladesh lacking a Holding or a Thomson, was a fair call. What India did not have was respect – for the opposition or for the conditions. Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak and Mohammad Rafique dismissed India for 191.
Where the inadequacy of one team ended, the beauty of the other came to the fore, making this a game of two halves. We had only barely heard of a 17-year-old called Tamim Iqbal; they said he was the hardest hitter of a cricket ball in Bangladesh. Often that isn’t saying much; on this day, it said everything. With poise, balance and hand-speed reminiscent of a young Saeed Anwar, Tamim drove on the up with panache and precision.
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Zaheer Khan tested him with the short ball early. An appeal for a catch was turned down, but the delivery provoked a rash response: Tamim jumped out of his crease and swung wildly. He finished the over by leaping out again but making contact this time, for a four through mid-off.
Zaheer countered by coming round the wicket and bowling a short ball. Tamim cut it past point. Zaheer, unsure what to do, tried the short stuff again. Tamim waltzed down the pitch and without the slightest doubt, dismissed the ball over long-on.
“If Mashrafe had broken the backbone of the Indian team, Tamim hammered the final nail in the coffin with dazzling strokeplay,” said Akram Khan, the former Bangladesh captain. “I can assure you that we did not have the courage in our generation to play cricket like this.”
India fought, for sure, making Bangladesh work for their win. But it was the erstwhile minnows who fought the good fight. India went on to register a big win against Bermuda but lost to Sri Lanka and left the World Cup, along with Pakistan, after the first round.
This article was first published in 2014