Since their qualification for the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh have taken rapid strides across the three formats. While their One-Day International (ODI) team grew under the leadership of Mashrafe Mortaza, the recent Test wins against Australia and England have presented great hope for the future. Here are five major steps taken by Bangladesh since the 2015 World Cup to surge ahead in international cricket.
1. First Test win against England
Since the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh have built this formidable fortress at home. England managed to make inroads though as they won the ODI series and then recorded a narrow win in the first Test at Chittagong. However, inspired by Tamim Iqbal and the tyro Mehidy Hasan, Bangladesh roared back in the second Test at Dhaka to record their first victory against England. On a dramatic Day 3, England were left with 273 to win. Openers Alastair Cook and Ben Duckett added 100 before Bangladesh shattered the floodgates. England collapsed in a session to hand the hosts a 108-run victory.
2. First Test win against Australia
Ahead of the series, Shakib Al Hasan announced that the hosts would target a 2-0 victory — a statement met with great surprise despite Bangladesh’s growing stocks in recent times. But, Bangladesh’s talisman walked the talk and put in a great all-round performance to take his side half-way to that 2-0 target. Not only did he score 84 in the first innings but accounted for 10 wickets in the game, five of which came during Australia’s pursuit of 265 in the fourth innings. David Warner’s century put Australia on course at 158 for two before Shakib helped Bangladesh put the foot in the door. Taijul Islam and Mehidy also chipped in to help Bangladesh bag a 20-run victory.
3. Qualification for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final
Bangladesh had missed out on the 2009 and 2013 editions having failed to make in the top eight of the ODI rankings. Come 2017, they had surged ahead of the West Indies and qualified. Despite their recent progress, not many had given them a chance as they were placed alongside Australia, England and New Zealand. England overcame Tamim’s century to win and then lady luck favoured Bangladesh as they managed to share points with Australia in a rain-affected game. At 33 for four chasing 266 in the virtual quarter-final against New Zealand, the flight back to Dhaka looked very likely. Shakib then joined the party again and stitched a 224-run partnership with Mahmudullah to take them through to the semi-final. Although India were too strong in the semis, Bangladesh had made their point.
4. Qualification for the final of the Asia Cup 2016
The Asia Cup 2016 switched to the shortest format with the ICC World T20 in sight. Bangladesh played host to India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, who made their way through the pre-tournament qualifiers. Bangladesh were beaten by India but then got past UAE and the out-of-sorts Sri Lanka. In the crunch game against Pakistan, they held their nerve and overcame a modest target amidst celebratory buzz. Though they put up a stiff challenge against India in the final, MS Dhoni’s men made it through.
5. Back-to-back ODI series wins against Pakistan, India and South Africa
At the back of their success in the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh had a splendid home season as they tamed the tourists Pakistan, India and South Africa in the three ODI series. The emergence of youngsters such as Soumya Sarkar and Mustafizur Rahman injected strength into the side and belief for the future. Pakistan were humbled 3-0 before a formidable Indian side were beaten 2-1. South Africa too faced India’s fate as they failed to clinch a series many felt was theirs for the taking. These victories showed that Bangladesh had well and truly grown into a force and that their performance in the World Cup Down Under was no flash in the pan.