Bangladesh opened their 2019 ICC World Cup campaign with an impressive 21-run victory over a hapless South Africa at The Oval in London on Sunday.
The Tigers posted a record 330 for six in their 50 overs after Faf du Plessis had won the toss with Shakib Al Hasan (75) and Mishfiqur Rahim (78) laying the platform for the victory with a partnership worth 142 for the third wicket.
South Africa, who were shambolic in the field and with the ball, did not do much to inspire with the bat either, ending on 309 for eight, despite a half century from their captain, Du Plessis, who top-scored with 62 from 53 balls. South Africa’s batting has failed to impress over the last 12 months and again the top-order failed to impress.
With Hashim Amla missing out due to his concussion, Aiden Markram (45) opened with Quinton de Kock (23) and landed up running out his opening partner after the pair had posted 49 for the opening stand. Bangladesh were full value for their victory as they applied pressure with the bat, ball and in the field.
Bangladesh’s highest World Cup total put the pressure on the Proteas which showed as the South African’s failed to put any meaningful partnership together, losing wickets at regular intervals. Du Plessis and Markram added 53 for the second wicket but then Markram was bamboozled by Shakib Al Hasan (10-0-50-1) with the allrounder picking up his 250th ODI wicket in the process.
David Miller, in for Amla, managed just two fours but then became the first of three victims for Mustafizur Raham (10-0-67-3), departing for 38 from 43 balls and then the writing was spray-painted on the wall. With Du Plessis playing so beautifully, striking the ball over extra-cover with ease, he chanced his arm once too often, coming down the track to Mehidy Hasan (10-0-44-1) and having his leg stump disturbed.
Rassie van der Dussen looked confident, striking two fours and a six from 38 balls but was then clean-bowled by Mohammad Shaifuddin for 41 and when JP Duminy played on from Raham for 45, the chase was a lost cause as Andile Phehlukwayo (8) and Chris Morris (10) fell quickly.
Du Plessis’ decision to insert Bangladesh will always be questioned but the Tigers played beautifully as Tamim Iqbal (16) and Soumya Sarkar (42) put on a solid 60 for the first wicket despite some fortune as both batsmen played and missed a few times while Lungi Ngidi (4-0-34-0) found the edge of Sarkar’s bat with successive balls only for the ball to fly between the slips.
South African’s might feel that their fortune was affected when Ngidi limped off the park with a hamstring strain but Phehlukwayo’s introduction brought about a wicket with Tamim egding behind to De Kock. Morris (10-0-73-2) then had Sarkar caught behind, trying to pull a short ball and gloving to De Kock, who ran and dived forward to take a good catch.
But then Shakib and Mistafizur anchored the innings and took the game away from the Proteas with the pair striking 16 fours and a six between them. Imran Tahir, playing in his 100th ODI, ended with 2-57 in his 10 overs, claiming the wickets of Shakib, clean bowled trying to sweep and then Mohammad Mithun (21), also bowled.
Once Phehlukwayo dismissed Mistafizur, the Proteas had the chance to try and keep the Tigers under the 300-run mark but Mahmudullah and Mohammad Hossain had other ideas. Kagiso Rabada, who ended wicketless in his 10 overs, dropped Mahmudullah on the boundary and the right-hander took full advantage.
Mahmudullah struck three fours and a six, ending unbeaten on 46 from just 33 balls while Hossain scored 26 from 20 balls with four boundaries helped Bangladesh score 54 runs from the last four overs to really put the cat amongst the pigeons.
South Africa have now lost both their World Cup matches and now face the daunting task of taking on India on Wednesday while Bangladesh face off against New Zealand here at the Oval on Wednesday.