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A successful overseas tour that never happened before

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 26th July, 2021 11:28:34 PM
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Bangladesh have very poor overseas records in their cricketing history but despite that, they previously tasted series victories across different formats on foreign soil.
 
However, on Sunday, they achieved a new ‘first’ when they beat Zimbabwe in the third and final T20I to clinch the series 2-1 and complete a hat-trick of series wins during their month-long series in African soil.
 
Bangladesh earlier won the preceding one-off Test series and three-match one-day international series by 1-0 and 3-0 margin respectively.
 
Bangladesh’s winning all three series against Zimbabwe not only gave the Tigers a new occasion to celebrate but also boosted their confidence ahead of their home series against Australia, scheduled next month.
 
Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin didn’t hide his satisfaction after the way the tourists performed in the tour even without some of their leading stars in different formats.
 
“I think the biggest thing is that we were able to see our bench strength to some extent as some of the regulars were missing and they did quite well,” Minhajul told Daily Sun on Monday.
 
There were lots of speculations regarding the tour considering it was their first tour in Zimbabwe in eight years but the Tigers brushed aside all kinds of doubts as they ended the tour on a perfect note.
 
The Tigers received a wake-up call on the opening sessions of the one-off Test by the hosts after they were left struggling at 132-6.
 
Mahmudullah, who returned to the Test fold after 17 months, rescued Bangladesh with a career-best 150 not out while Liton Das, Mominul Haque and Taskin Ahmed all scored fifties that brought back the visitors in the match.
 
Bangladesh didn’t need to look back since the first innings as Shadman Islam and Najmul Hossain struck unbeaten hundreds in the second innings while the batters were complemented well by the bowlers that helped them winning their first-ever Test series in Zimbabwe.
 
Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan proved his point in the match by grabbing his career-best figure of 9-148 on foreign soil while Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin also chipped in with few wickets in the match.
 
The performance of Mehidy was also a huge relief for the team management as he hardly managed to create a niche for him in foreign conditions like the way he had managed to do so in his own backyard.
 
Despite Bangladesh’s win, the spotlight suddenly shifted to Mahmudullah after the 35-year old decided to retire from Test cricket in the middle of the Test match.

Bangladesh also won the game without their successful opener, Tamim Iqbal, due to his knee injury who later on skipped the T20I series in order to start his rehab keeping his eyes on ICC World T20.
 
However, the southpaw led the Tigers to a 3-0 ODI series win in the next series that also strengthened Bangladesh’s chances to make a direct entry in the 2023 ICC World Cup in India.

Shakib, who was going through a rough phase with the bat, eventually managed to come up with a match-winning knock with willow by scoring unbeaten 96 runs in the second ODI after his five-wicket haul and Liton’s hundred helped the Tigers win the first match as well.
 
Shakib grabbed the man of the series prize on the back of his all-around performance but it was skipper Tamim, who struck his 14th ODI ton to guide Bangladesh to complete a clean sweep in the ODIs against the hosts.
 
In the T20Is, Bangladesh had a relatively inexperienced side with Mushfiqur Rahim leaving the team after the Test series to be with his sick parents while Liton, Mustafizur got injured during the first T20I.
 
Leg-spinner Aminul Islam also had to return home early after his father breathed his last in Dhaka.
 
However, the Tigers still managed to hold their nerves and won the series despite losing the second game and it was largely possible for their make-shift opener Soumya Sarkar, who scored 126 runs and took three wickets in the series.
 
The T20 series also saw the emergence of Shamim Hossain, a 20-year old boy who played two gem innings in his debut series to help Bangladesh complete their maiden T20 series win over the hosts at their backyard.