Bangladesh caught out at the last in T20 World Cup loss to South Africa

Just 18 months ago, the little corner of Brooklyn where McDonald and Church Avenues meet was officially named Little Bangladesh. It’s the city’s newest neighbourhood, home to its fastest-growing community.

The number of Bangladeshi-Americans living in New York has tripled in the last decade, and now runs to approximately 100,000. Apparently just about a quarter of them had come to Long Island to watch their team beat South Africa. It was the second-biggest crowd they’ve had here during the tournament, a little smaller than India’s, but just as loud.

They had a lot to cheer, everything, in fact, except the one thing they wanted. Bangladesh played one of the better games any team has turned in at the Nassau County ground, but still lost by four runs. Their batsman managed the chase brilliantly until the final over, when they needed to score 11 off Keshav Maharaj. But Rishad Ali was caught by Aiden Markram on the straight boundary trying to hit the six that would win it for them, and so was Mahmudullah. Markram had to leap high off his feet to take that one, and only had an inch or two of spare ground to land in.

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Mahmudullah couldn’t believe it, and stood his ground a while, waiting for a review that never came. It meant Taskin Ahmed needed to hit the last ball for six to win. He couldn’t. They had already been robbed of four leg byes that had ricocheted away off Mahmudullah’s pads. The umpires have him out lbw. He overturned it on review, but the runs had already been struck off. It was a shame it ended that way. Bangladesh deserved better, especially Towhid Hridoy, who had held everything together with his fine 37.

They were only chasing 113. South Africa’s innings was a wreck. Bangladesh had brought Tanzim Hasanb Sakib to bolster their fast bowling, and gave him the first over. Three deliveries in, this was looking like a dubious move. Quinton de Kock carted him for a six over square leg and then a four through long-on. But he dismissed Reeza Hendricks lbw for a golden duck with his sixth ball, and things immediately started to fall apart. Hendricks has now made 4, 3 and 0 in the tournament. His role seems to be mainly ornamental.

Hasan bowled De Kock, then had Tristan Stubbs caught at cover for a duck. In between, Ahmed bowled Markram with a delivery that moved just enough off the pitch. By the end of the powerplay, South Africa were 25 for four, and had managed to hit exactly seven scoring shots between them, three of them the boundaries scored by De Kock. They rotated like a stopped clock. Luckily for them, they have one of the stronger middle-orders. Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller batted through the next 14 overs together and put on a match-winning 75, largely against Bangladesh’s spinners.

Klaasen raced ahead with a couple of sixes off Hossain, while Miller, who was celebrating his 35th birthday, tucked in behind him. Taskin finally broke the partnership when he bowled Klaasen for 46, and when Hossain got Miller in the next over, the innings spluttered out. They still came out on top in the end. In this tournament South Africa, who have a reputation for losing games they ought to win, seem to be winning all the ones they ought to lose.

The Guardian

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