The Tigers are back. And so are the tears. Bangladesh add colour to a tournament and bring frenetic emotions and it didn’t take long for their fans and players, who wear them emotions on their red-trimmed green sleeves, to liven up the atmosphere in the baby-battle of the subcontinent, ahead of the Big Daddy clash. Bangladesh fans raised a din in the tournament which until now was played mostly in front of quiet, empty stands. Even before the first ball was bowled in their match against Sri Lanka, the stuffed tigers were out in force in the stands: as hats, on t-shirts and simply as toys. On the field, the first drops of tears were shed during the anthem after Mahmudullah got emotional when the anthems were played. It’s too early to say how far Bangladesh will go into the tournament but one thing is sure: till the time they are there, they’ll make the desert colourful.
— Mominul🏏 (@MominulCric) October 24, 2021
Cricket meets WWE… almost
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are considered two of the most docile teams in world cricket – in the nicest sense of the word – exceptions like Arjuna Ranatunga and Mushfiqur Rahim notwithstanding. So, it was a surprise to see tempers flare up after Liton Das holed out to mid-off off Lahiru Kumara. The dismissed batsman and the bowler came eyeball to eyeball with other fielders soon joining in. Das’s opening partner Mohammad Naim came from behind to restrain Kumara, and get away from his teammate. It seemed that cricket would soon turn into a contact sport before the two on-field umpires had to jump in to control the situation and send Das on his way.
The roots of the fracas were laid a couple of overs earlier when Kumara threw the ball at Naim after fielding on his follow-through, and just missed the head of the batsman, who had just ventured out of the crease. It came a delivery after Kumara had been smashed over mid-on for a boundary, and would have been seething in the Emirates heat. He is a heavily-set individual and bowls a heavy ball, but is not known to get in the face of batsmen, and Liton and Das don’t have disciplinary records of concern.
It was not the last instance in the innings of a bowler having a go at the stumps after fielding the ball. Chamika Karunaratne was accurate with his throw a few overs later, and it was only the alertness of the fielder at short fine-leg that prevented four overthrows off a ricochet.
Liton Das, it would appear, believes in charging at catches. The projectile is travelling in his general direction. At a good pace. So, sooner than later, a catch will be completed. Should he stick his hands out, without fidgeting. But the outfielder twice let his impatience get the better of him. First Rajapaksa thwacked it behind square leg and Liton would rush at it and make one right mess denying Afif a chance to stub what eventually was 53 precious runs. Later, with Asalanka at 63, Liton would run in at sweeper cover, sprinting as fast as the skier came down. Stopping momentum of a wildly moving sphere would demand the one in control of his movements would decelerate and not match it in pace. But a second drop meant both half centurions were reprieved. A 5-wicket win meant the day finished more off than Liton for Das.