Cricket World Cup 2019: Experienced men stand tall for Bangladesh in 21-run win over South Africa

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Bangladesh start with a bang. Image - CricketWorldCup/Twitter.

Experienced turned out to be key for Bangladesh as they made a winning start to their 2019 ICC World Cup campaign against a formidable South Africa at The Oval.

Bangladesh prevailed by 21 runs in a tight contest in London as the Proteas fell to their second consecutive defeat in the tournament.

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis’ decision to bat first after winning the toss didn’t pay dividends with the Proteas bowling attack conceding more than 300 runs for the second game in a row.

Led by half-centuries from the bats of Mushfiqur Rahim (78) and Shakib Al Hasan (75), Bangladesh posted 330-6.

Opener Soumya Sarkar gave Bangladesh a blazing start with a 30-ball 42 before Shakib and Mushfiqur consolidated the advantage with a record third-wicket stand worth 142.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir brought South Africa back into the game with two wickets but Mahmudullah (46) and Mossadek Hossain (26) ensured that Bangladesh ended their innings with a bang.

In response, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals as they attempted a record World Cup chase but it proved to be too tall an order in the end as they finished on 308-9.

Openers Quinton de Kock (23) and Aiden Markram (45) both got good starts but were unable to kick on. Skipper du Plessis registered a fine fifty (62) before his innings was ended by the excellent Mehidy Hasan with Bangladesh’s spinner’s thriving.

Rassie van der Dussen (41) and JP Duminy (45) raised South Africa’s hopes with a threatening stand but Bangladesh’s bowlers bounced back at the death in style with a flurry of wickets.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Experienced core to the fore for Bangladesh

Bangladesh came into the World Cup with an experienced core and it proved to be the difference in their fine win over the Proteas.

With the bat, Mushfiqur and Shakib set up an excellent platform with a 142-run stand. Both batsmen registered fifties on the day before Mahmudullah provided the finishing flourish in the death overs.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib show their experience.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib show their experience.

The 33-year-old struck a 33-ball 46 as Bangladesh scored 54 runs off the final four overs of the innings. Those late runs proved to be crucial in the end given the game’s tight margins.

Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and stalwart Tamim Iqbal did not have the best of the days but their experience should also show through at some stage. With five players who have all played a minimum of 150 ODIs, the Tigers are no longer the pushovers they once were and the Proteas will definitely not be their last big scalp in the tournament.

KEY MAN

Shakib Al Hasan

The Bangladesh star had reclaimed the No1 ICC ranking for all-rounders coming into the World Cup and he justified that tag with an accomplished display with both bat and ball.

He first ensured that Bangladesh made the most of a blistering start provided by opener Sarkar with a 142-run stand for the third wicket alongside Mushfiqur.

The southpaw struck one six and eight boundaries in his 75-run knock which came at almost run-a-ball and helped assert Bangladesh’s dominance in the middle overs with what was his 43rd ODI fifty.

He then followed it up with a super bowling display where he castled the well-set Markram while being highly economical in his 10-over spell (1-50).

In the process, Shakib became only the fifth all-rounder in ODI history to score at least 5,000 runs and claim 250 wickets and the fastest to do so – 199 matches.

KEY STAT

The 330-6 accumulated by Bangladesh’s batsmen is their highest ODI total in history. The excellent showing by Mashrafe Mortaza and his men is the best batting format in the 2019 World Cup so far as well and eclipses the 311-8 put up by England’s batsmen against South Africa in the tournament opener.

The previous highest ODI total by Bangladesh was the 329-6 they scored against Pakistan at Dhaka in 2015.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Ben Stokes and Shakib Al Hasan star in player power rankings

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The Cricket World Cup is in full flow and though there’s a table that sorts out the teams, there are few ways to keep tabs on the best players.

As such, we’re putting together a regular ‘player power ranking’ that monitors the top 10 players throughout the league stages in an effort to track the true MVPs of the summer.

The first edition analyses the stars from the opener between England versus South Africa through to Bangladesh v South Africa on June 2. There’ll likely be one or two Indians who mix up the bunch once they get their campaign under way against the Proteas on June 5.

1. Ben Stokes (England)

Dictionary definition of an all-rounder: Stokes’ performance against South Africa. One run-out, two wickets, two catches (including perhaps the finest you’ll ever see at a World Cup) to go with an innings of 89 that married composure with carnage at the end. To think, he was supposed to be out of form.

2. Andre Russell (West Indies)

That Russell lay waste to the IPL with his bat despite an assortment of injuries was impressive enough. That he somehow found an extra few yards of pace, complete with a troublesome knee, was jaw-dropping – not least for the Pakistani batsmen. His short-ball siege, comprising 18 deliveries, two wickets and just four runs yielded, was as fearsome as any West Indies spell of yore.

3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh thrashed their highest ODI total ever and it was fitting that Shakib played a central role. Al Hasan has been one of the world’s premier all-rounders over the past decade and it was a momentous day on multiple levels. Having posted a fine knock of 75 as the Tigers motored to a record-breaking 330 against South Africa, the 32-year-old became only the 5th all-rounder in ODI history to do the double of 5,000 runs and 250 wickets with the timely scalp of Aiden Markram.

4. Jofra Archer (England)

Archer could do 150kph in a 80kph zone and the speed cameras still wouldn’t flash. So deceptively quick is the 24-year-old that Hashim Amla thought he had time to get his hands up for a pull shot before the ball found its way into his grill. With Amla an unfortunate victim, the new kid on the international block then accounted for Markram, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and the hearts of thousands of England fans.

5. David Warner (Australia)

The bold and brash Warner rocked up to Bristol and … played within himself. It wasn’t the perfect innings and he came under heavy pressure against a tight Afghanistan bowling attack that didn’t allow the Aussies to free their arms. The scorecard says it was a comfortable win, but Warner’s circumspection – he’s done a lot of that on and off the pitch recently – in a hostile country deserves praise.

6. Matt Henry (New Zealand)

Tim Southee, consider the gauntlet laid down. Henry retained his place in a New Zealand attack that adores green pitches from Christchurch to Cardiff. And it was at it Sophia’s Gardens where Henry picked apart an admittedly woeful Sri Lanka with nagging line and length – less showy than Southee’s swing, but just as devastating. Lahiru Thirmanne and Kusals Mendis and Perera at the top of the order all perished during Henry’s 3-27 day.

7. Oshane Thomas (West Indies)

There were fears over West Indies’ strike bowling heading into the summer. It turns out Thomas hadn’t truly introduced himself to the world yet. He served notice following a five-fer against England back in the Caribbean – and his vicious treatment of Pakistan on Friday made everyone sit up and notice. The burly 22-year-old seems to hang in the air before slamming his body back down to earth and unleashing his rockets. The dangerous Babar Azam and Mohammed Hafeez was part of his 4-27 onslaught and though it was a bowler’s wicket, Thomas is some bowler.

8. Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand)

While Henry brought irritating consistency to the table against Sri Lanka, Ferguson brought the chaos. At an average of 145kph, Ferguson clears second-placed Archer as the fastest bowler in the world in 2019 by a whopping 5kph. He was far too quick for Sri Lanka in Sophia’s Gardens, with his pace skidding on to thump Dhananjaya de Silva’s leg a particular highlight. Two Blackcaps bowlers mentioned without any word of Trent Boult – things look very rosy for the Kiwis indeed.

9. Alex Carey (Australia)

Long gone are the days of Adam Gilchrist and Carey was perceived as the weakest link in this Australia side. On his World Cup debut, the 27-year-old  became the second Australia wicket-keeper to effect five dismissals in a World Cup innings – alongside you-know-who, Gilchrist. He’s nowhere near the belligerent bat that Gilchrist was, but his lightning hands against Afghanistan underlined the worth of a true gloveman.

10. Mohammad Saifuddin (Bangladesh)

These rankings don’t just judge pure numbers – they take into account match-winning moments, too. Saifuddin’s time in the spotlight certainly stands up to the test, as the bowling all-rounder let his right-arm do the talking in the 40th over of a nail-biting South Africa chase. He castled a well-set Van der Dussen – whose shot selection was woeful – but a wicket-maiden, which he then followed up with the scalp of Andile Phelukwayo, swung the game Bangladesh’s way.

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Cricket World Cup 2019 moments: Shakib Al Hasan among select group of all-rounders with 250th ODI wicket

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Shakib Al Hasan.

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan had a brilliant day in the field against South Africa at the 2019 World Cup on Sunday, first scoring a fine fifty before picking up the crucial wicket of Aiden Markram in the Proteas’ chase.

Shakib has been the pillar of Bangladesh’s ODI cricket with the bat, ball and as a leader. He was on top of his game at The Oval, scoring a fine 75 to help the Tigers post their best ever ODI score of 330-6 before taking the scalp of a well-set Markram. That dismissal put Shakib in a select group of all-rounders.

Shakib’s performance was undoubtedly a special moment of this World Cup. We are compiling such top moments from the showpiece event in England. Read about the Fakhar Zaman dismissal here.

WHAT HAPPENED

Shakib became just the fifth player in ODI history to do the double of 5,000 runs and 250 wickets after legends Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, Jacques Kallis and Abdul Razzaq.

Shakib is also the quickest to the mark – reaching the milestone in 199 matches. Shakib now has 5,792 runs to go with his 250 scalps in ODIs.

WHY IT IS SPECIAL

Shakib is a top-order batsman nowadays and has been struggling with finger injury for the last season. Against a top team like South Africa, he not only put the runs on board but also made an impact with the ball. His tally of well over one wicket a game is superb in the modern day for any finger spinner.

The veteran all-rounder has been around for more than a decade and he has sustained his performances in both departments, which can’t be said about many all-rounders in ODI cricket.

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