Bangladesh, often regarded as the Underdogs, scripted a memorable 21-run win over the South African team in the fifth fixture of the 2019 ICC World Cup. South Africa yet again failed to open their World Cup account after suffering two back-to-back defeats at the Oval. Bangladesh posted 331 runs on the board, their highest-ever ODI total while the Proteas never looked in the stride during the chase and finished with 309 for 8. With this comprehensive victory, Bangladesh delivered just what the World Cup and fans were craving for- Drama, Ecstasy, Intensity, Aggression all that which went missing during the first four games.
Having won the toss, Mashrafe Mortaza elected to bat first on a flat-batting pitch, and the intention was right there from ball one. Soumya Sarkar provided an explosive start at the top with his 30-ball 42 to set the tone for the following batsmen. After a promising display in the bowling powerplay, Bangladesh found themselves reeling at 75 for 2 when two most seasoned Bangladeshi campaigners, Shakib Al Hasan, and Mushfiqur Rahim came down the middle.
The prolific duo added 142 runs for the third wicket before Imran Tahir bowled Shakib (75) round his legs. Mushifur played a crucial hand in the middle overs for his 78- knock which brought Bangladesh closer to the 300-run mark. Some dazzling shots in the slog overs courtesy Mahmudullah (46 off 33) and Mosaddek Hossain (26 off 20) took them to 330 in their quota of 50 overs. Tahir and Phehlukwayo bowled tremendous spell, taking two wickets apiece while Chris Morris went for too many runs for his two wickets.
South Africa made a steady start before a miscommunication led to Quinton de Kock’s disastrous run-out in the tenth over. The skipper, Faf du Plessis came down to the rescue, but his splendid 53-ball 62 went in vain as South Africa maintained their ‘Chokers’ tag in ICC tournaments. Some valiant efforts from the middle-order batsmen, Rassie van der Dussen (41), David Miller (38) and JP Duminy (45), brought the Proteas closer to the target yet failed to take their side over the line. Saifuddin was impressive on his World Cup debut picking up two wickets while Mustafizur bowled an exceptionally well against a quality batting lineup and took three crucial wickets to register Bangladesh’s first victory in the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s unabating exasperation at the World Cup, saw them being hammered by England and Bangladesh in two consecutive matches. India will be their next opponent on 5th June, which calls for a stern test. Faf du Plessis, who missed a trick or few in his last two matches, would be eyeing to land a counterpunch against the much-fancied Indian team. Bangladesh, on the contrary, must be ecstatic with the authority they played with against a stronger side. It was not only a win but a reconfirmation of them as a rising superpower in the cricketing world.