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Home is where the advantage is

The way Bangladesh players went on a victory lap showed how relieved they were after getting a lifeline in the tournament. Nilankur Das reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 26, 2011 01:02 IST
Nilankur Das

A spectacular diving catch by Tamim Iqbal and a four-wicket blast by paceman Shafiul Islam spurred Bangladesh to a pulsating 27-run win over Ireland in their World Cup Group B match on Friday.

Chasing 206 for victory, Ireland looked like they were going to break Bangladeshi hearts as they were coasting on 151 for five in the 37th over.

But a diving Iqbal scooped the ball just millimetres off the ground to get rid of dangerman Niall O'Brien (38) and that moment of brilliance turned the match on its head.

Needing 55 for victory off 81 balls, Ireland blew their chance of recording another famous upset as they surrendered their last five wickets for just 27 runs and they were all out for 178 -- with Shafiul the main architect of their downfall.

Bangladesh, who were hammered by India in their opening match, sparked wild celebrations among the 25,000 fans packed into the Shere Bangla Stadium after pulling off an unlikely win.

"We didn't bat well but our bowlers and fielders show great character," a relieved Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan said during the presentation ceremony.

Shafiul, who has been dogged by fitness problems in the run up to the match, struggled to find his line and length during his first two spells.

However, he was at his destructive best in his third spell and conceded only 10 runs as he picked up the wickets of Kevin O'Brien (37), Andre Botha (22), Trent Johnston (6) and Boyd Rankin (3) to finish with 4-21.

Bangladesh's win would have somewhat taken the gloss off teenager George Dockrell's impressive World Cup debut.

Left-arm spinner Dockrell, still only 18, picked up the key wickets of Mushfiqur Rahim (36) and Mohammad Ashraful (1) to help restrict the hosts to a modest total.

Iqbal and Imrul Kayes had given Bangladesh a flying start as they raced to 50 runs inside six overs but some inspired fielding and a controlled bowling display from the Irish stifled the innings to the dismay of the home fans who started to fear another defeat at the hands of the Irish.

Four years ago in the Caribbean Ireland sensationally defeated Pakistan in the group stages and followed it up by beating Bangladesh in the following round.