Bangladesh buoyed by win over Netherlands

NORMAN DA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

TORONTO - If it isn’t stones, it is gifts that rain down on Bangladesh’s national cricket team.

Following that drubbing by the West Indies last week, the players were jeered off the field and their bus was stoned along with the one transporting the West Indians. Later that night, skipper Shakib Al Hasan’s house in the suburbs of Dhaka was also attacked by motorcycle gangs.

But these same disgruntled fans buried the hatchet following last Friday’s stunning victory over England that kept alive hopes of making it to the quarterfinals. Hard on the heels of that win came another one Monday when it brushed aside a challenge from the Netherlands to post a six-wicket win at Chittagong.

The triumphs over England and the Dutch have fired up the population of 130 million in this cricket-mad country. Several of the leading businesses announced the players would be handsomely rewarded. Not sure if the package will include repairs to the captain’s home, but win the World Cup and they will build Al Hasan a palace.

Two months ago when the favourite whipping boys of international cricket defeated New Zealand 4-0 to win their very first series since being elevated to Test status in 2000, prime minister Sheikh Hasina handed each player a housing plot in Dhaka and a car.

Other gifts to each player included $5,000 from the Bangladesh cricket board and a further $1,400 from a bank.

Rewarding players isn’t uncommon in the Indian sub-continent. A few years back India’s Sachin Tendulkar was handed the keys to a Ferrari. Putting pedal to the metal in a city as crowded as Mumbai would be more of a challenge than scoring a century for the star batsman.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s emphatic victory over the Dutch yesterday threw a wrench into the Group B standings where no team has yet qualified for the quarter-finals.

Bangladesh bundled out the Dutch for 160 with Ryan ten Doeschate making 53 not out and Abdur Razzak taking three for 29. Imran Kayes, who made 60 versus England, carried his bat for 73 Monday as Bangladesh reached its target in 41.2 overs.

This leaves India (seven points), West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh (all with six), England (5) and Ireland (2) competing for the final four spots with the Netherlands the only country eliminated.

The Bangladeshi victory puts England on a sticky wicket. It must win its game in Chennai against the West Indies on Thursday or pack its bags and head home after yet another miserable World Cup campaign. A West Indies win will also enable Bangladesh to get into the last eight even before its final game against South Africa on Saturday.

Group A has been less confusing. Pakistan beat Zimbabwe in a rain-plagued encounter in Kandy to book its place in the last eight along with New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka. The remaining matches, though, are all crucial as they will decide the order of finish and who they play in the next round. Kenya, Zimbabwe and Canada will be taking early flights home.

The Duckworth/Lewis method was put into effect as Pakistan cantered to a seven-wicket triumph. Zimbabwe scored 151 for seven in 39.4 overs and Pakistan made 164 for three with Asad Shafiq hitting 78 not out and Mohammad Hafeez 49.

Pakistan was expected to win, but all eyes were on Kamran Akmal who has been a butt of jokes for his butter-fingered non-performance behind the stumps. In the last match he gave New Zealand’s Ross Taylor two “lives” before the Kiwi had opened his account and on four. Taylor went on to clobber 131 to help New Zealand beat Pakistan.

Akmal eased the fears of his teammates yesterday by taking two catches, but the jokes are still on him.

Behind every successful batsman there is Kamran Akmal.

What do Kamran and Michael Jackson have in common? They both wear gloves for no reason. 

Kamran Akmal’s favourite pickup line? “Can I drop you somewhere?”


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