Bangladeshi captain Mushfiqur Rahim walks off the field after being dismissed during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur. AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN
It was so near yet so far for Bangladesh. To lose the Asia Cup by two runs is bound to haunt the team and the tears said it all. It was a gallant fight and Bangladesh have every reason to feel that they missed out on the big moment. In the earlier games, against India and Sri Lanka, they did surmount bigger totals. In the final, Bangladesh fell short because of lack of experience of playing big finals.
But what they have achieved, and the way they played against the big guns of Asia, should benefit them. They should begin drawing positives from what has been achieved. Bangladesh did well to restrict Pakistan to a modest 236 on the Mirpur wicket where scoring runs isn't difficult, though the pitch seemed a bit sluggish compared to the earlier matches. The Bangladesh batters became extra cautious at times, which resulted in the run rate coming down. In such situations, one needs to play his normal game. That doesn't let the pressure get to you.
Shakib was the man for Bangladesh. Not only did he bowl brilliantly but, as long as he was at the crease, it looked like the home team had every chance to romp home. His wicket was the turning point because had he been around for some more time, he could have kept the scoreboard ticking and also guided the young Nasim towards the desired target. I feel this Asia Cup could be the point from where Bangladesh would start climbing the ladder of world cricket.
Feeling the pinch
India must be feeling the pinch after Pakistan lifted the trophy, because in the group encounter, Dhoni and his boys won handsomely against archrivals Pakistan, even after the opponents put 329 on the board. It has happened for the second time. Even in Australia, in a must-win situation, India chased down 320 in the required 40 overs.
On both instances, the hero was Virat Kohli. I request everyone to let him play in peace. Playing for the country brings huge pressure and let's not put burden on him by comparing him with the big names. Let him blossom. Tendulkar achieved a milestone, which, I think, will be impossible to surpass. His hunger for the game is exemplary and people should realise that he should be left to his own to decide his future.
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The writer is a former India skipper.