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The Daily Star, Bangladesh Not a cheerful debut
Nizamuddin Ahmed - 17 May 1999

CHELMSFORD, Essex, May 17: There was sunshine at Chelmsford yesterday and it was cloudy too. The 4000-strong Bangladesh crowd was a right cheerful lot, but the cricketers were a damp, disappointing lot.

The debutants lost to the Test elite New Zealanders by six wickets in a one-sided match, which saw their top and middle order collapse to a penetrating Kiwi seam attack.

Bangladesh were 116 for all out in 37.4 overs. New Zealand cruised to victory in 33 overs scoring 117 for four.

On a windy late morning, with threatening clouds looming overhead that could have overs curtailed to bring in the likes of Duckworth and Lewis, New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming put Bangladesh in after winning the toss.

Bangladesh could not have nightmared of a more inauspicious start to the World Cup when they lost Shahriar Hossain for naught in the very third ball of the game, a nasty one from left-arm Geoff Allott that had the opener trapped leg before.

The next couple had not fended off the venomous Kiwi attack for long before the other opener, Mehrab Hossain, was also given out leg-before to another piercer that Allott unleashed after his 30-yard run-up.

Bangladesh found themselves in an incubator, struggling for breath, as well as prestige, with only seven runs on the rudimentary Essex County scoreboard.

Akram Khan, tipped always to lift lost buckets from the bottom of the well, did raise hopes with the first boundary of the Bangladesh innings in the second over, a meteor through mid-wicket off Dion Nash. But, sadly for the thousands of Bengalees, who thronged the small Chelmsford cricket stadium from all over England as well as Bangladesh, there would be only another big swipe that the burly number three would connect to deceiving deliveries on an easy-paced wicket.

Aminul, sooner than Akram's second boundary also of Nash, emulated his predecessor and pulled the most expensive Kiwi bowler over mid-wicket and then, in the very next ball, drove another Nash commoner behind the bowler. Little did the vibrant crowd realise then that the flurry was over and that their money's worth would only be paid back, partially however, by the tail-enders.

Cheered all the way, the experienced couple saw Bangladesh through to the 13th over with Fleming asking Chris Cairns to take over from Allott after the tenth. Then Aminul betrayed his position as captain, kept his feet firmly planted on the ground, and played a poor shot across the line of Cairns that zeroed in sharply on his middle stump.

Entered Gavin Larsen and Bangladesh lost another four wickets with the addition of only 13 runs.

The first to follow the captain was Akram Khan, who came down the pitch, and irresponsibly so, and handed Larsen a caught-and-bowled animation in a gift-wrap spiked with needles to some extent.

The next victim to Larsen's gentle pace that uncoils after an easy run-up was Khaled Masud, who opened the gate and paid for it.

Then Khaled Mahmud tested Cairns with a stinging return catch but, to make sure he became the New Zealanders second scalp, the Bangladesh vice-captain lifted a full toss in the following delivery to Roger Twose at short cover. Rafique, his recent poor form overstaying, was more generous to Cairns: one-ball leg-before and the tousled-hair bowler were on a hat trick. Cairns denied him the honours by bowling a no.

Then came the biggest partnership of the Bangladesh innings. Enamul Hoque, in the team as a spinner, and Naimur Rahman shared a 34-run eighth-wicket grind as the score crawled to the 100-mark. Halfway through their allotment of 50 overs, Bangladesh were seven down.

Fifteen runs short of it, Naimur Rahman was adjudged leg-before to a Larsen delivery. Enamul, who hit the longest four in the innings, one-drop behind third man, lasted another 11 runs before being deceived by a Harris delivery that did not turn. Bangladesh were still four short of the century with a wicket in hand.

The Bangladesh 100 came from a towering six by No 10 Hasibul Hossain off Cairns that was seen over the long-off boundary with consummate ease. That over was Bangladesh's best with Hasibul cracking a four off Cairn's last.

The Bangladesh innings came to an abrupt halt after much dilly-dally when Hasibul tried to get off the way of an Allott full toss that found Horne at mid-wicket. The early winding up allowed the New Zealanders to bat for seven overs before lunch.

The Bangladesh bowlers did quite a job but, unfortunately, there were not enough runs on the board to defend.

Source: The Daily Star, Bangladesh
Editorial comments can be sent to The Daily Star at webmaster@dailystarnews.com