Looking back at Bangladesh’s World Cup

Bangladesh’s world cup campaign has been a roller-coaster ride. The essence of this ride actually goes back to the year 2015. Before then, winning a single match against any strong test playing nation used to be our criteria for success. And when those wins came around, waves of people would take to the streets in celebration.

The start of a new era

2015 marked the nation’s first-ever quarter-final appearance in world cups. This milestone was only the start. What followed were three consecutive series wins against Pakistan, India and South Africa. Stars like Mustafizur Rahman came on to the scene, who had obliterated the Indian batting with back to back 5 wicket-hauls and was the key to winning the series.

And so, 2015 changed the very criteria of success for Bangladesh. It was finally about victory. The next four years leading up to the ICC World Cup 2019 included test victories against England and Australia, getting agonizingly close to winning the Asia cup in 2018, making it to the semi-final of ICC Champion’s Trophy and registering a series victory overseas against West Indies.

And after becoming the champions of the Tri-Nation series held just before the world cup, the confidence grew and expectations became high. For the first time, Bangladesh entered an ICC Cricket World Cup to actually contest the title.

Read more: The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

The journey of CWC 2019

The high expectations soared even more as Bangladesh started off by defeating the South African side. What followed was a loss to New Zealand in a very close match. Although the defeat was a bump in the path, the hope was still strong. However in the next match, England had amassed a massive total of 386 runs, and Bangladesh was never really in the game.

Despite the loss, we got a fantastic performance from Shakib Al Hasan who had scored 121 during the chase and became the top scorer of the tournament at that time.

The match against West Indies was the highest point for Bangladesh.

They successfully chased down the huge total of 321 in just 42 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Shakib Al Hasan became the man of the match with 2 wickets and an unbeaten 124 of only 99 balls. The back to back centuries scored by the all-rounder and the dominant victory over Windies once again ignited the hopes of victory. The road to the semi-finals started to look very inviting once more.

What happened afterwards is what the fans of Bangladesh cricket are bitterly familiar with. Playing well till the end but just not well enough to win. Bangladesh fought hard against Australia and India with a bunch of stand-out individual performances. But the strength of those two sides were just too much. Bangladesh’s scores of 333 and 286 while chasing 381 and 314 respectively, left a feeling of “only if we played a little bit better” to every Bangladesh supporter who was watching. The win against Afghanistan only served as a consolation.

Read more: First-ever Bangladeshi female commentator: Shathira Jakir Jessy

Magnificent Shakib and other disappointments

Another consolation was Shakib Al Hasan’s fantastic performance. He scored 2 hundreds, 5 fifties and a score of 41 in his 8 matches and became the first-ever to score 600 runs and take 10 wickets in a world cup edition. He was also the first player to achieve 600 runs in the group stages of a world cup.

Despite his exceptional batting performance in every single match, the others weren’t able to support him quite enough.

A few of the young players had performed very well in the likes of Liton Das and Mohammad Saifuddin but the rest of the team left a lot of gap between their performance and the expectations.

Two fielding incidents are at the top of the list of disappointments. In the close game against New Zealand, Mushfiqur Rahim had run Ross Taylor out who was only on 4. However, in the replay, we could see that Mushfiqur had knocked the bails of before catching the ball. The run-out became obsolete. Ross Taylor went on to score 82 runs and was the man of the match.

And in the match against India, Tamim Iqbal dropped a simple catch of Rohit Sharma who was at 9. With a new life, Rohit scored a hundred and just like Taylor, became man of the match. These two missed out wicket opportunities turned out to be match deciders.

Read more: Meet the street children from Bangladesh who are playing in the world cup semis!

Bent, not broken

While Bangladesh’s world cup ended on a bad note, we shouldn’t forget the achievements and successes of this campaign. Bangladesh had performed far better this time than in any of the previous world cups. We were legitimately contending for a spot in the semis at one point. As fans, our role now is to simply hope our players have learned from the mistakes. Let us move on and look forward to the victories that await us in the future.