Bangladesh stun South Africa

Bangladesh clinched a memorable victory against South Africa at Guyana to keep their World Cup dreams alive.

South African captain Graeme Smith won the toss and elected to insert Bangladesh in overcast conditions with hopes of bowling Bangladesh out for a small total to leave an easy chase. However, things did not go exactly to plan.

The ball did not initially move a great deal for the South African bowlers and despite a few hiccups, the Bangladeshi batsmen were able to negotiate the bowling well enough. Tamim Iqbal and Javed Omar, opening for Bangladesh, took the score along to 42 when the arrival of Andre Nel at the bowling crease brought about a change of fortune.

Nel, perhaps seeking to prove himself after being left out of all of South Africa’s previous World Cup matches, bowled with fire and pace and refused to give an inch to the batsmen. Eventually the pressure took it’s toll as Javed Omar played a tame cut shot straight to Smith at gully.

Bangladeshi skipper Habibul Bashar promoted himself to the one-down position as he searched for some form. Despite playing some attractive shots, most went straight to the fielders in the inner ring. However it took a moment of Nel brilliance to remove him, as the batsman shaped to drive straight only to see Nel pluck the ball out of thin air to take a magnificent return catch.

It wasn’t long until Nel was back into the act as he bowled with sustained aggression, particularly at Iqbal. The young batsman looked ill at ease against Nel, and tried to impose his authority by charging the fast bowler, only to see the thin edge go through to Boucher for an easy catch.

Kallis was brought into the attack by Graeme Smith, and he obliged by quickly taking the wicket of Saqibul Hasan, another batsmen undone by a shorter delivery. With the score at 84-4, the Proteas would have had high hopes of wrapping the innings up quickly. Unfortunately for them, Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed did not go quietly.

The pair began quietly, looking to consolidate the innings. Ashraful survived with some good fortune but was able to make good use of his luck as he compiled a useful score. The batsmen signalled a clear sign of intent when in the 35th over, Aftab swung Kemp for two enormous sixes to take the Bangladeshi run rate over four runs per over. With wickets in hand, they were well placed to make a competitive score. Unfortunately, Aftab didn’t last long as he drove Ntini straight to Nel to go for an aggressive 35.

With quick runs the order of the day, the Bangladesh ‘keeper Mushfiqur Rahim sacrificed his wicket to keep the senior partner at the crease. Ashraful soon brought up his fifty smashing Ntini straight down the ground for four, and continued in the same vein to take Bangladesh to a good score. He had a good partner in Mashrafe Mortaza who also managed to get a few away in his short stay at the crease. The two added 54 runs in only 31 deliveries when was clean bowled by Nel. Ashraful was dismissed for a brilliant 87 in the final over going for one big shot too many to give Nel his fifth wicket, and Bangladesh finished their innings on a competitive 251-8.

The South Africans began their run chase fairly quietly as Mortaza and Syed Rasel bowled a tight line to Smith and de Villiers. The captain had made his way to 12 and was looking to push the scoring rate along when he misjudged Rasel to lose his off stump. Jacques Kallis, batting at his customary number three position, did not bat as fluently as he often does.

Both Mortaza and Rasel kept it tight without trying to do anything special, and eventually the pressure took it’s toll on Kallis as he attempted to heave Rasel away only to give an easy catch to mid-on. At 63-2, the South Africans still would have thought the chase to be fairly simple with the required rate still well under a run a ball.

With the pace bowlers having done their job well, Bashar brought on his battery of left-arm spinners. Abdur Razzak had immediate success as he bowled de Villiers for a patient 15, and when Prince was run out for just one to leave the score at 67-4, the Bangladeshis would have dared to dream of victory.

South Africa required over six runs per over, but the impressive spin bowling attack refused to give any easy runs to the batsmen. Boucher attempted to break the shackles with a big six off Saqibul Hasan, but he was easily caught at long-off going for another maximum. The very next delivery Kemp was deceived into giving Saqibul a return catch and South Africa were suddenly six down and in a lot of trouble.

Herschelle Gibbs, suffering from a calf strain, was called in to bat with Prince as his runner. He and Pollock attempted to get things moving and succeeded in pushing the ball around while getting the occasional boundary. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and in another attempt to keep up with the asking rate, Pollock took on the arm of Tamim Iqbal and was run out for 17.

With only the injured Gibbs remaining of the recognised batsmen, the South Africans were almost down and out. Nel could not last long as Rafique collected another caught-and-bowled chance, Langeveldt kept the bowling out without threatening to take the attack to Bangladesh. At the other end, despite losing batsmen in succession, Gibbs managed to make his way to his half-century, hitting Mortaza for a huge six to bring up the milestone. He finished unbeaten on 56 as Ntini couldn’t bat out the last two overs of the innings. South Africa were all out for 184, and Bangladesh deservedly won by the emphatic margin of 67 runs.

Number one ranked South Africa are now left to fight for their chance to take the World Cup home for the first time, while Bangladesh still keep their hopes alive of a fairytale World Cup campaign.

Bangladesh 251-8 (50 overs)
Mohammad Ashraful 87, Tamim Iqbal 38, Aftab Ahmed 35
Andre Nel 5-45

South Africa 184 all out (48.4 overs)
Herschelle Gibbs 56*, Jacques Kallis 32
Abdur Razzak 3-25, Syed Rasel 2-41, Saqibul Hasan 2-49

Bangladesh won by 67 runs

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Mohammad Ashraful – 87(83)

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