Bangladesh and their bragging rights against Pakistan

Bangladesh celebrates their win against Pakistan in the World Cup 2022 © Getty Images

The most experienced player in the Pakistan team has played 120 ODIs. For Bangladesh, that number is 45. The highest run-scorer for Bangladesh in the ODI format is yet to cross the 1000 run mark, while Pakistan’s highest run-scorer is close to 3000 runs. The 7th highest wicket-taker in the format is from Pakistan, while Bangladesh’s highest-wicket taker is yet to go past 50 wickets. This is Pakistan’s fifth appearance in the ODI World Cup, Bangladesh are in New Zealand to play their first-ever World Cup.

These facts suggest that the rivalry between Bangladesh and Pakistan looks like a contest between David and Goliath but, at Seddon Park on Monday (14 March), nothing could stop the underdogs from creating history. 

Here’s a look at the close matches between these two sides in recent times:

Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, November 4, 2019 

This was the final match of Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan. It was historic in many ways because Bangladesh were touring Pakistan after four years and Lahore’s iconic Gadaffi Stadium was hosting a women’s ODI match for the very first time. Pakistan had comprehensively beaten their relatively inexperienced opposition in the T20I series and also bagged the first match of the ODI series. The hosts were one victory away from complete dominance and the commentary team was gleefully discussing Pakistan’s upper hand in the series. 

Pakistan got a solid start from Javeria and Nahida Khan as the pair added a partnership of 50 runs. Javeria got out, but Nahida brought up her half-century with captain Bismah Maroof at the other end. Pakistan were in a strong position at 157 for four in 35th over with the explosive Aliya Riaz and Iram Javed at the crease. Chaos followed and Pakistan were bundled out for 210 in the 49th over, which included four runouts. Bangladesh still had to complete their highest-ever ODI chase if they were to clinch the victory.

After an early wobble, Fargana Hoque and Murshida Khatun steadied the reply with a partnership of 82 runs, the fifth-highest partnership for Bangladesh, ever. Hoque continued her counter-attack with her first half-century against the hosts. Once she was caught at square leg, Bangladesh needed just 24 runs from 48 balls. An easy Bangladesh victory was on the cards but Pakistan made the most of their experience and Bangladesh lost five wickets for just 18 runs.

With three runs needed from the final over, captain Maroof took it upon herself to defend the total. Jahanara Alam and Nahida Akter kept their calm and took Bangladesh home with one ball and one wicket remaining. Bangladesh avoided a complete drubbing and won the thriller, chasing down their highest-ever total.

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Old Hararians, Harare, November 21, 2021

A lot had happened since that thrilling last-over victory in Lahore. Pakistan’s stalwart Sana Mir had announced her retirement. In the absence of Maroof, Javeria Khan was leading Pakistan in the ICC World Cup Qualifier. For Bangladesh, this was the first major assignment for the newly-minted captain Nigar Sultana. Away from home, the stage was set for these two sides to resume their rivalry in Zimbabwe. 

From 38 for one in the 13th over, Pakistan slumped to 49 for 5 in just four overs. Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz took the responsibility to take Pakistan to a strong position. Both all-rounders took their time in the beginning but added 137 runs for the sixth wicket, the second-highest for Pakistan, in terms of runs. Riaz remained not-out to take Pakistan past 200 and gave them a real chance of defending the total.

When Rumana Ahmed walked in at four in the 33rd over, Bangladesh needed almost 6 and a half runs per over to upset the much-fancied Pakistan side. It got worse two overs later as Bangladesh lost Hoque, who was all settled and batting on 45. The partnership of 61 runs between Ahmed and Ritu Moni kept Bangladesh in the hunt but the run rate climbed up to 8.

With 42 runs required from the last five overs, Ahmed saw a mini-collapse from the other end when Bangladesh lost three wickets in the span of four balls. Ahmed had former captain Salma Khatun at the other end when the duo of former captains took a run-a-ball from 47th over. Ahmed went ballistic and hit Omaima Sohail for three back-to-back fours and clobbered 18 runs from the 48th over. Diana Baig’s penultimate went for 12 runs and Bangladesh needed five runs from the final over to seal their first victory at the World Cup qualifiers.

Calm under pressure, Ahmed and Salma collected five runs from the final over, sealing a famous victory by three wickets with two balls remaining. The surge in COVID-19 cases rocked the Qualifiers and both teams qualified for the World Cup in New Zealand based on their ODI rankings, confirming a showdown on the grandest stage in the game. 

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Seddon Park, Hamilton, March 14, 2022

Coming into the 12th match of the World Cup, both teams were yet to add a win to their tally. Bangladesh bowled South Africa out for 207 in their first match of the global competition but failed to chase the target. Batting first, they crumbled against a quality New Zealand side after a second consecutive opening partnership of 50 runs. Pakistan, on the other hand, faced the giants India and Australia in their first two matches and narrowly missed the opportunity to get over the line against South Africa. At Seddon Park, both teams were desperate for a victory. 

For a change, this time around, Bangladesh batted first, accepting the invitation from Pakistan captain Bismah. After successfully navigating Pakistan’s pace bowling pair of Fatima Sana and Diana, Shamima Sultana lost her patience and holed out in Nida Dar’s first over. Omaima  struck gold in her first over when she bowled Sharmin Akhter. Fargana Hoque was once again given the task of rescuing Bangladesh with captain Nigar Sultana.

The pair showed a lot of intent with clean stroke play and improved running between the wickets. They added 96 runs for the third wicket before Sultana was trapped in front by Fatima four runs short of her third ODI half-century. Meanwhile, Fargana scored her second half-century of the World Cup and went past Rumana Ahmed to become Bangladesh’s highest-ever run-scorer in the ODI format. 

Bangladesh were 175 for three with 10 overs remaining in the first innings. Commentators backed them to go beyond the 240 mark, which they had never done in the past. Once Rumana Ahmed was caught at mid-off and Nashra Sundhu took two wickets in one over, Bangladesh’s hopes to cross 240 were dashed. Still, Bangladesh finished with their highest-ever score in the format, 237 for seven.

The chase was in good hands when Sidra Amin and Bismah were in the middle for Pakistan till the 38th over. When Maroof got out, Pakistan needed 78 runs from 12 overs, and with the batting line-up they have, it looked like a relatively easy chase. Fahima Khatun’s three wickets in two overs and a run-out reduced Pakistan from 181 for two to 188 for seven. Amin, who was so close to scoring Pakistan’s first century of the World Cup, watched this unbelievable collapse from the other end.

Amin did get her share of history and scored a century when Pakistan needed 30 runs from the final four overs. Salma Khatun trapped Diana  in front and centurion Amin was run out on 104 to further sink Pakistan as they needed 19 runs off the last two overs. Salma used all of her experience in the penultimate over and conceded only three runs. Nahida, the hero with the bat from Lahore, bowled the final over and defended 16 runs. Bangladesh created history by pocketing another nail-biter against their fierce rivals.