Bangladesh Opener Tamim Iqbal hit his 9th ODI hundred in the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy. In a magnificent knock which featured 12 fours and two maximums, Tamim Iqbal began cautiously before taking the attack to the English bowlers. Incidentally, this was Tamim’s first hundred in England. It is also the first century of this edition in the Champions Trophy.
The southpaw got off to a good start with Soumya Sarkar and then batted well with Imrul Kayes. In his innings of 128 of 142 balls, he pulled, drove, cut with panache. He also picked the gaps in the field to perfection. After Imrul Kayes fell at 95/2, Tamim Iqbal was joined at the crease by wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim joined him at the crease as they both forged a brilliant partnership of 156 runs.
Mushfiqur Rahim hit a quickfire knock of 79 of 72 deliveries which featured eight fours. However, with the score at 261, both the batsmen fell off successive deliveries and this was a setback which pegged the scoreboard to – 306. Otherwise, it seemed like Bangladesh were heading for a score above 320. A late thrust was provided towards the end by Sabbir Rahman.
Bangladesh has been in good form recently and also climbed up the ladder in ODI cricket ranking. Against England, they approached the game in a mature manner. After a slow star, the Bangladeshi batsmen took the attack to the bowlers and picked the gaps in the field with perfection. It may be recalled here that in the recently concluded tri-nation series involving Ireland and New Zealand they did well. Theirin, Tamim Iqbal was the highest-scorer for Bangladesh1
In a recent interview Tamim Iqbal spoke about this rise and said, “As a team, we have come up a long way. That time we were ranked 10th, now we are ranked sixth. As I told you before, it didn’t come easy. We had to go through a lot of lost matches, hard work and criticism as well. But the last two years has been brilliant for Bangladesh cricket. [We are] probably one of the most successful teams in the world if you see in the last two years.”
Meanwhile, England will have a stiff target of to chase. However, one cannot rule the Three Lions off as they have enough firepower to chase down big totals. In their last 12 ODIs, England has managed to post 300-plus scores in 10 matches. Hence, the Tigers will have to be on their toes if they are to secure a win.