By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar
Sri Lanka 232; Bangladesh 212/5 (Bangladesh won by 5 wickets – D/L method)
The scorecard of the match is here
“India & Sri Lanka are both pregnant. Father: Bangladesh.”
Thus went Dhaka’s famous stand-up comic – Naveed Mahmud – though he clarified that he got the quip from someone else, no one cares tonight; Bangladeshi cricket fans are too busy having the party of their lives.
After playing 261 ODI matches in 26 years, Bangladesh touched the biggest heights of their cricketing history on Tuesday night by reaching the final of the Asia Cup for the first time.
They did so by playing emphatic team cricket right through the 3 matches – and despite the copious amounts of luck they have enjoyed, are on course to create even more history, if some of that luck can still hold out. Or maybe even without it.
Here’s the last significant league match through the Impact Index prism.
Bangladesh beat the two World Cup finalists to reach the final of this tournament. The Sri Lankans were visibly exhausted and at times, even seemed disinterested during the course of the tournament. India, after a fashion, seemed entirely pre-occupied by the individual landmark (a forced aggregate of a meaningless collective) of its superstar batsman. Both factors contributed significantly in torpedoing the chances of their respective teams in this tournament – as both were soundly, and impressively, beaten by the hosts. But neither will probably care too much – Sri Lanka will go home for the first time after reaching the CB Series finals in Australia (into battle with England), and India will go home after beating Pakistan (into the arms of the IPL).
None of the above should however take away from the cricket Bangladesh have played during the last ten days. Both the bowling and the batting have combined more immaculately than ever before, pressure situations overcome with assurance, even a ruthless killer instinct revealed at moments. All augurs well, not just for the final on Thursday, but for Bangladesh cricket in general.
Today, a remarkable total of 7 players from Bangladesh had an IMPACT of over 2 in the match. Led by the most usual suspect of all – Shakib Al Hasan. He has a unique status in international cricket as Bangladesh’s highest impact ODI batsman in its history and also the highest impact ODI bowler ever. He is the 28th highest impact player in the history of ODI cricket (minimum 75 matches; ahead of legends like Michael Bevan, Aravinda De Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly) – this is some achievement for a player in a team that has only now reached its first major final. Today, Shakib registered a massive all-round impact (2 for 56 in 10 overs - Bowling IMPACT 2.05; then 56 off 46 balls – Batting IMPACT 5.13). He absorbed considerable pressure while batting (when he came in at 40 for 3) and also registered a significantly positive Strike Rate IMPACT.
His opening batsman colleague Tamim Iqbal, like Shakib, produced his third consecutive substantial innings in a row. Like Shakib, he also registered the same quantum of Pressure IMPACT (0.83) in the match, while maintaining a positive Strike Rate IMPACT.
Nasir Hossain (36 off 61; IMPACT 2.44) and Mahmudullah (32 off 33; IMPACT 2.18) played calmly and decisively after they came together at 135 for 5 – providing a champion-like finish to a historic occasion. Very oddly, just before Shakib got out at 135, Malinga had had Hossain all at sea with his rising deliveries but he was taken off immediately when the wicket fell, inexplicably, as he still had 3 overs left; Hossain went on to visibly stabilise himself, and the innings. Hopefully, this was nothing more than very poor captaincy by Mahela Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka were highly inadequate when they batted. Nazmul Hossain (3 for 32 in 8 overs; IMPACT 4.38) got them on the back-foot very early on with his three quick strikes – it would keep him the highest impact bowler of the match. He achieved Pressure Building IMPACT by taking wickets in succession which registered pressure on Sri Lanka; moreover, he also kept the runs down and recorded a positive Economy IMPACT.
Abdur Razzaq (2 for 44 in 10 overs; IMPACT 2.74) was the second-highest impact bowler for Bangladesh. His wicket of Thirimanne also achieved a Partnership Breaking IMPACT.
For Sri Lanka, Chamara Kapugedara (62 off 92 balls; IMPACT 4.35) was the highest impact player in the match. He, along with Lahiru Thirimanne (48 off 73 balls; IMPACT 3.58), had the highest Pressure IMPACT in the match from both sides (as Sri Lanka recovered from 32 for 3 at one stage).
Sachithra Senanayake was the second-highest impact player in the match for Sri Lanka. He was also the only player besides Shakib in the match to have an all-round impact. While bowling, his wicket of Tamim Iqbal also registered Partnership Breaking IMPACT.
Bangladesh had 4 batting efforts and 3 bowling efforts of IMPACT 2 or more as compared to Sri Lanka’s 3 and 2 respectively, thus comprehensively outplaying Sri Lanka. Overall, Bangladesh’s Team IMPACT in the match was 2.08 compared to Sri Lanka’s 1.68. It turned out to be quite a beating.
Interestingly, Bangladesh's Tournament Team IMPACT so far has been 1.87 (equal to India's 1.87 – thanks to their mauling of Pakistan, and well ahead of Sri Lanka's 1.50). Their biggest challenge will be in the final against Pakistan (2.01) on Thursday. If they are lucky enough to chase again (a significant advantage on featherbeds), as they have done right through this tournament so far, this gap will probably not mean anything. Otherwise, Pakistan might just have the edge.
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com