World Cup 2019: Bangladesh start World Cup with South Africa win

Updated: Jun 03, 2019, 07:45 IST | Santosh Suri | London

Half centurions Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim help Bangladesh record upset victory over South Africa

Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim celebrates the wicket of SA's Aiden Markram yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim celebrates the wicket of SA's Aiden Markram yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Finally, an Asian team stood up to the challenge in this World Cup. Bangladesh played like tigers, as they are referred to, overcoming a below-par South African team at The Oval yesterday. They made the most of the conditions as, after being put in to bat, they ran up a total of 330, their highest ever in the World Cup. Overhauling the huge target on a sluggish pitch was always going to be difficult for the South African batsmen and so it proved as Bangladesh bowled very well and despite some poor catching, restricted their opponents to 309-8.

One would consider it rather surprising that South African skipper Faf du Plessis decided to bowl first considering the same Oval pitch was used in the opening match against England. Even in that game, South African had faltered badly chasing a 300-plus total. Probably Du Plessis was influenced by the way the other Asian teams — Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan — had crumbled batting first against other opponents.

The 21-run defeat, their second successive one, puts South Africa under tremendous pressure as they will be up against India in their next game at Southampton on June 5. Their performance so far does not augur well for them in the rest of this tournament. As for Bangladesh, it was the start they had hoped for. They countered the South African plan of browbeating the batsmen with pace and bounce, as they withstood the initial pressure and ensured that they did not lose early wickets.

Openers Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar gave a decent start and after their dismissal, the experienced pair of Shakib Al Hasan (75) and Mushfiqur Ramin put on 142 for the third wicket. The partnership laid the platform for Bangladesh to post a total well in excess of 300 as the rest of the batsmen made useful contributions to help the team finish the innings with a flourish.

The South African chase received a setback when Quinton de Kock was run out in a mix-up with Aiden Markram. Thereafter, they lost wickets regularly as the Bangladesh bowlers maintained a tight line and length. Spinners Shakib, Mehdi Hasan and Hosaddek Hossain and pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Shaifuddin bowled well within themselves to help the team pull off a famous win.

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