Buoyant Tigers look to clinch ODI series against South Africa

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Sports desk, Mar 19: Emboldened by their first victory on South African soil, Bangladesh now are aiming to clinch the three-match ODI series as they take on the visitors for the second match tomorrow (Sunday) at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

If they can pull off another victory, it will be their first ever series victory on South African soil and of course against a top cricketing nation for the first time. Bangladesh earlier won the away series against West Indies and Zimbabwe but the series victory against South Africa, who are always a tougher opponent at their home soil regardless of their strength will be a major boost for Bangladesh cricket.

The significance of the series victory would be also huge given that this South African side whitewashed mighty India in a three-match ODI series at home recently. If they can win the series, it will be Bangladesh’s second series victory over South Africa, having beaten the Proteas by 2-1 margin at
home soil in 2015.

The manner in which Bangladesh won the first match by 38 runs at SuperSport Park in Centurion would give them the confidence to dream big.
They had first compiled a hefty 314-7, their highest ODI total on South African soil, thanks to a superb 64 ball-77 of Shakib Al Hasan. He was ably supported by opener Liton Das and youngster Yasir Ali Chowdhury who both made an identical 50 runs.

While it was Yasir’s first ODI fifty, which came off just 43 balls, Liton’s half-century was his third successive fifty plus knock in ODI cricket.

Liton’s serenity and Tamim Iqbal’s patience gave Bangladesh a 95-run partnership for the opening stand. Though runs came at slow pace, they didn’t lose wicket early, which acted as the catalyst of Bangladesh’s success. South African much-vaunted pace attack was believed to use the early moisture and rip through Bangladesh’s top order in the first 10 overs but Liton and Tamim denied them in extraordinary batting effort.

After the opening partnership set the tone, Shakib and Yasir added 115 off just 81 balls to throw South Africa out of the game.

“When I spent 7-8 balls, I thought it was a good wicket. We had to score around 300. We got a good start through Liton and Tamim,” Shakib said.

“Yasir batted really well. Him and my partnership was important. Lot of credit goes to him. As soon as the shine was gone, the ball wasn’t doing as much as in the first ten overs. We had to take calculated risks, and it paid off today,” Shakib explained the recipe of their success.

It was only Bangladesh’s fifth victory against South African in 23 matches. They lost 17 matches while one was washed out but Bangladesh won the last matches against the Proteast, with the previous coming in the 2019 World Cup in England. On both occasions, Shakib was the ultimate hero.

Shakib however was not supposed to play the series as he was allowed to take a break for his mental and physical fatigue. But in a surprising move, he changed his mind and played the series. He had already made the first match a memorable one and his effort will be needed to win the series also.

Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said they are oozing with confidence to win the series also and for that they need to keep the trust on their ability.

“We can win the series. We have to give ourselves every chance. They will be eager to bounce back,” Tamim said.

After their first victory on South African soil, snapping the 19-match winless streak across three formats, Bangladesh are unlikely to tinker with their winning combination.

Squad

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal (Captain), Liton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hassan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot
Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Syed Khaled Ahmed.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj (vice-capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle
Verreynne.