2015 ICC World Cup: Lion-hearted Bangladesh pull off Scotland heist

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March 5, 2015

Brief Scorecard: Bangladesh 322 for 4 (Tamim 95, Mahmudullah 65, Mushfiqur 60, Shakib 52*) beat Scotland 318 for 8 (Coetzer 156, Taskin 3-41) by six wickets

Bangladesh players get together after their six-wicket win, Bangladesh v Scotland, World Cup 2015, Group A, Nelson, March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015

Brief Scorecard: Bangladesh 322 for 4 (Tamim 95, Mahmudullah 65, Mushfiqur 60, Shakib 52*) beat Scotland 318 for 8 (Coetzer 156, Taskin 3-41) by six wickets

Bangladesh players get together after their six-wicket win, Bangladesh v Scotland, World Cup 2015, Group A, Nelson, March 5, 2015

Saxton Oval, Nelson, NEW ZEALAND: Bangladesh have often been accused of running scared of the leading associates. It is an accusation not without merit. Despite repeated requests, Bangladesh did not play a single bilateral One-Day International against an associate nation in the four-year period since the last World Cup, only playing one ODI – which they lost – against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup.

So many predicted that Bangladesh could stumble against association opposition in this World Cup. Instead they easily disposed of Afghanistan in Canberra and, despite a sterling 156 from Kyle Coetzer, clinically dispatched Scotland in Nelson on Thursday (March 5).

From a position that was effectively 5-2 in pursuit of 319 – Anamul Haque dislocated his shoulder in the field and Soumya Sarkar was strangled down the legside – it was a performance of astounding self-assuredness. If Scotland's bowling was far too wayward, Bangladesh batted as if there was a gap in class as well as ICC status. It was the second-highest score chasing in World Cup history, and yet it was made to seem routine, all of which bodes very well for the looming crunch game against England in Adelaide.

History of another sort was also made, as Tamim Iqbal claimed Bangladesh's highest ever World Cup score. It was an innings marked by resplendent driving through the covers – though Scotland afforded him width far too generously – until he was trapped lbw five runs sort of a century. As if willing him on to the landmark, Mushfiqur Rahim urged a reluctant Tamim to forlornly review the decision.

Yet, even with Tamim dismissed with 118 runs needed, Scotland seldom threatened their maiden World Cup win. Bangladesh's middle order batted with panache and impudence as they cruised to victory; besides Sarkar's two, Sabbir Rahman's unbeaten 42 was the lowest score any of Bangladesh's six batsmen managed.

No one was more impressive than Rahim, harassing the fielders with his running and displaying a wonderful lightness on his feet against Scotland's seam bowlers. His emphatic dispatching off Iain Wardlaw over long on was a shot that thrilled the sizable Bangladesh contingent, who ensured that Scotland did not mirror Ireland here two weeks ago in enjoying support worthy of a vociferous home crowd.

Rahim could have been run out by Richard Berrington on 39, looking for a single that wasn't there. When he was eventually dismissed harrumphing Ali Evans to long-on, Scotland had one more chance: 72 runs were required, and effectively only five wickets remained.

It was an opportunity Preston Mommsen attempted to seize. He has been hampered by a lack of bowling strength throughout this tournament, which has deterred him from being bright and inventive in his leadership. Here he attacked Rahman with seven fielders in the ring. Rahman had reached just one from nine balls when he slashed at Evans. It just eluded Matthew Cross behind the stumps, and raced for four. With that went Scotland's chances of making Coetzer's performance the match-winning one it deserved to be.

Before this game, Grant Bradburn, Scotland's coach, had said: "We feel that our batting is potentially our strength." If those words sounded almost more hopeful than expectant, Coetzer responded to the clarion cry of his coach.

Centurion Kyle Coetzer propped Scotland up after early wickets, Bangladesh v Scotland, World Cup 2015, Group A, Nelson, March 5, 2015

Although he has more county pedigree than any other Scot in this line-up, Coetzer can be a little easy to ignore: He lacks the belligerent reputation of Calum MacLeod or Matt Machan. His unobtrusive technical proficiency was evident as he took 20 balls over his first nine runs, inoculating Scotland from another top order collapse after soft dismissals for MacLeod and Hamish Gardiner. The ponderousness of Scotland's batsmen against Shakib Al Hasan, who conceded just six runs in three overs opening the bowling, would have made Bradburn grateful that Bangladesh did not select another specialist spinner.

Scotland have waited 16 years for their first World Cup century. But they could not have envisaged the landmark coming so emphatically: Coetzer launched a length ball from Rubel Hossain over long on for six. He did not react with any great histrionics, calmly raising his helmet to celebrate a moment he had worked so hard to achieve.

A year ago, Scotland reached the World Cup with a magnificent seven straight victories in the World Cup qualifying tournament in New Zealand. Owing to injury, Coetzer played in only the first match of that run. So well did Preston Mommsen fare in his absence that Bradburn made the decision to appoint him as permanent Scotland captain, with Coetzer demoted to vice-captain.

Sulking at his fate might have seemed like an attractive option but Coetzer evidently thought better of it. He scored 333 runs at 55 apiece on the World Cup acclimatisation tour last autumn, more than any player from the four associates. He played superbly in making a crisp 71 against England in Christchurch, which followed a 96 against West Indies in a warm-up match. He did much more than that on Thursday, producing one of this most exhilarating innings of the World Cup, and shattering a phalanx of records en route. By the time he was done, Coetzer was Scotland's first World Cup centurion and had hit the highest-ever score by an associate player in World Cup history.

Although no other Scot passed 39, they batted resourcefully around Coetzer, with Berrington showcasing his explosiveness to lift Scotland up to 318, though they would have been mindful that both other games in Nelson had been won by the chasing side. Still, even in defeat Coetzer had made an indelible mark on the tournament.


Courtesy: IBN Live