Bangladesh have shared the Test series against Sri Lanka. They also shared the ODI series against the Lankans. And today the Tigers will get an opportunity to make it truly a shared series on the Lankan soil provided that they show tenacity in the second and final T20 international at the R Premadasa Stadium.
To achieve that the Tigers are already motivated enough at least to give a fitting farewell to their inspirational captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who will walk in the middle to play his final T20I. Bangladesh lost the first T20I by six wickets at the same venue on Tuesday, the day when Mashrafe announced his retirement from the shortest format of the game. The 34-year-old took two wickets in that game but his effort was not enough to prevent a big defeat in a format which has been the weak-link for the Tigers. They got a start despite losing opener Tamim Iqbal early. But their inability to construct a T20 innings was once again exposed after the dismissal of Sabbir Rahman – who was undone by a brilliant direct hit. His dismissal not only dried up the runs but also sparked a collapse that effectively dashed Bangladesh’s hopes of putting up a big total on a wicket where 180 is a par score.
However, this is also a series where Bangladesh have showed their ability to bounce back. They won the second Test in style after losing the first one. They also won the first ODI with a clinical performance, which is something they would want to repeat to complete what is already a satisfying away series. Bangladesh might go for a slight change in the final T20 but the game will be definitely remembered as Mashrafe’s one last hurrah. He had won the player-of-the-match award on his T20 debut against Zimbabwe at Khulna on November 28, 2006. His pace might have slowed down considerably and his hard-hitting exploits might have diminished, but one thing he still guarantees standing on those bad legs is the unbridled passion to fight till the end.
Source: Daily Star, Dhaka, Bangladesh