Richly Deserved: Cricket World Cup Report, Day 5


There were celebrations throughout Ireland yesterday. Of course they were celebrating their patron saint. They may have been disappointed that despite their 51-24 win over Italy, France still claimed the Six Nations rugby championship. But two days after their biggest cricket accomplishment ever, a tie against Zimbabwe, they topped that several-fold with their unbelievable dismantling of Pakistan.

Just moments earlier, Bangladesh, who had an awful tournament in 2003 in South Africa, showed just how far they have come in four years with a dominant performance against one of the favourites for the crown, India.

Well start in Jamaica where Ireland won the toss and chose to field first. Dave Langford-Smith and Boyd Rankin started the celebration by taking the wickets of Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan for 15. After Pakistan made it to 56, more disaster. First, Mohammad Yousuf is caught out then their captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, who Pakistan desparately needed to stablize this mess, was dismissed after making one.

Only Kamran Akmal (27) and opener Imran Nazir (24) did any real damage as Pakistan was bowled out for 132. Rankin took three of the wickets.

Ireland’s fans, enjoying St. Patrick’s Day in the stands, needed to wait just 41 overs to begin partying for real. Wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien did most of the damage. Fourth in the order, O’Brien made seven boundaries and a total of 72. Pakistan’s bowlers did a good job of keeping the remainder of the order in check but they never had a chance to hold that total.

It has been one nightmare after another for Inzamam and Pakistan. Last month, they learned they would be without Abdul Razzaq with a knee injury. Just a couple of weeks ago, fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, both under suspicion for doping-related concerns, were declared out due to injury.

Regardless, Pakistan takes its cricket very seriously and Inzy will have a lot of ‘splainin to do when he gets home.

Bangladesh can thank its two opening bowlers, Mashrafe Mortaza and Syed Rasel, for setting the table for the day’s other shocker. The fast-bowlers completely befuddled Virender Sehwag and Robin Uthappa. India were two gone for 21 but had no reason to panic because opener Saurav Ganguly was still in and he was to be joined by the big gun, Sachin Tendulkar.

Sachin faced 26 balls. Sachin scored seven runs. Sachin was caught out off the bowl of Abdur Razzak. And a billion people around the world suddenly had a knot in their stomach.

Ganguly had a good spell. The much-maligned veteran made 66. Yuvraj Singh had a good innings making 47. But when Mahendra Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, and Ajit Agarkar all lost their wickets in the span of a few balls with no runs produced between them, it was lights out for India.

Of course, Bangladesh had yet to bat. In 2003, Canada scored just 180 against them and all they could do was muster 120 all out. This would be different.

And it was a trio of half centuries that did it. Opener Tamim Iqbal made 51. Saqibul Hasan made 53. And wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim made 56 not out. The youngest team in the tournament had pulled a World Cup upset probably surpassed only by the one above.


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