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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Asia Cup - India plays Bangladesh - Mortaza hype on beating India..

More cricket to come…. ..the Asia Cup is on – it is the 12th edition of One Day International tournament .. and is being held in Bangladesh from 25.2.14 to 8.3.14.  The teams are  four Asian test-playing nations, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; and ICC Associate member Afghanistan.

Shitalakshya River  is a distributary of the Brahmaputra.  The match of the day involving the hosts and India is played at - Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, in Fatullah, Narayanganj in central Bangladesh. Narayanganj  is a city in central Bangladesh, nearer capital Dhaka and is situated on the  bank of the Shitalakshya River. The river port of Narayanganj is one of the oldest in Bangladesh. The town got its name from Bicon Lal Pandey, a Hindu religious leader who was also known as Benur Thakur or Lakhsmi Narayan Thakur who leased the area from the British East India Company in 1766 following the Battle of Plassey. He donated the markets and the land on the banks of the river, bequeathed for maintenance expenses for the worship of the God Narayan. 

In the pre-match hype, Mashrafe Mortaza said that beating India is no longer considered to be an ‘upset’ by the Bangladeshis as they have notched up quite a few wins against the continental heavyweights, including one in the last edition of Asia Cup.  In the marketing World, people talk big or made to prattle !!  Last time in Mar 2012, Bangladesh came close but could not realize their dreams at Mirpur.  A target of 237 was eminently gettable. They could fancy their chances till the last ball… when Umar Gul began the penultimate over it ws 19 off 12; 9 were  required from the last 6 legal deliveries; Aizaz Cheema bowled that… Pak eventually won the cup for the second time.

Back during the 2012 Asia Cup, Tendulkar scored that much awaited 100th century and set to chase 290, Bangla put up a spirited performance and won ….. and perhaps that is one of the reasons why Mortaza brags that it is no longer an upset.   India is without Dhoni but still ! – here is the statistics…

The teams have played 24 matches – of which all but 3 have been won by India ~ besides that loss at Asia Cup 2012; the first of Indian losses came at Dhaka in Dec 2004 and the second one at World Cup 2007 at West Indies whence India and Pak were eliminated in the preliminary round itself.  ~ and it is this performance that Mortaza is bragging about…

In 2004, Bangladesh made 229 for 9 (Aftab 67) beat India 214 (Sriram 57, Kaif 50) by 15 runs.  It was a historic first victory at home and also their first-ever win against India.  Mortaza first hustled a crucial unbeaten 31, his highest ODI score, in the slog overs, taking Bangladesh to 229 and gave his side the perfect start by striking with his third ball, beating Virender Sehwag.  Sridharan Sriram was the top scorer in that match.  The run out of Mohd Kaif by Rajin Saleh was a good effort.  Joginder Sharma chipped in with an unbeaten 29… but none was good enough.  Interestingly, India lost many matches in that year reaching new nadir with that loss to Bangladesh

The bowling was in the hands of  : Ajit Agarkar; Zaheer Khan, Joginder Sharma, Murali Kartik, Sridharan Sriram [10-1-37-1] and Dinesh Mongia.  Sriram made 57 with 7 fours.  Incidentally, for Sriram it was the last International match.  The doughty left handed allrounder played in 8 one dayers with a solitary 50 – made in that match only.  He started as a left arm spinner coming from the junior ranks, made runs in the domestic – after that went to Maharashtra from Tamilnadu – joined the rebel league of ICL – playing for Chennai Superstars before switching over to Ahmedabad Rockets; was given BCCI amnesty, quit the league – was even signed up by RCB……… but is forgotten now.

On that day at Dhaka, the ecstatic Banga team was adored, went for a victory lap, posed before cameras and thoroughly enjoyed basking under the Sun; still with only 3 wins – somebody bragging in a pre-match conference is more of a hype as India take on Bangladesh in the 2nd match of the 2014 Asia Cup.

After those disastrous tours of South Africa and Newzealand, India should be finding the home turf now !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

26th Feb 2014 @ 07.20 am.

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