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The Electronic Telegraph Warm-up match: Essex v Bangladesh
Rob Steen at Chelmsford - 8 May 1999

Mahmud makes emphatic point

Pluvius has been doing his level best to dampen spirits - the organisers, too - but the World Cup's 1,000-1 shots are nothing if not resilient.

Shrugging off the loss of both openers for ducks, Bangladesh posted an imposing 263 for seven then unleashed their spinners to mesmeric effect, securing the scalp of one of the county circuit's most efficient one-day units. If they weren't boogying on the streets of Dhaka last night, they were probably having a good waltz.

Their target adjusted by rain to 205 off 34 overs, Essex subsided from 64 without loss to 94 for five before clambering to 199 for eight. While the Bangladesh fielding left something to be desired the temptation to seek special dispensation for gloves and mufflers must have been sore indeed - Enamul Hoque and Mohammed Rafique, briskish slow left-arm and off-spin respectively, looked the genuine article. It said much for their canny work that two troopers as hardy as Ronnie Irani and Paul Grayson should be outwitted and stumped as the duo claimed six for 67.

One shudders to think how an England party would have reacted to being shunted from pillar to post in search of practice, much less holed up in the sort of hotels Norman Bates might have blanched at.

Hospitality has been limited, respect negligible. Their media have only just convinced Lord's of their existence; nor did the bacon sandwiches dispatched to the press box here reek of tact.

Yesterday, helpfully, an animated gaggle of ex-pats lent full support, hooting, whistling and raucously celebrating every run.

Duly inspired, Aminul Islam, the captain, and his predecessor, the endearingly chubby Akram Khan put their side back on an even keel after the early reversals, adding 66 in a dozen overs of fortitude and phlegm.

While Aminul drove sweetly and pulled meatily, Akram was content to nudge and nurdle, the air of sobriety somewhat at odds with the wayward and truculent conduct that saw him relegated to the ranks. The final straw came when an altercation with an umpire persuaded a pair of club officials to assault the object of his ire.

The outstanding innings, though, was played by the diminutive Khaled Mahmud. Never chary of aiming over the top, he dominated a 75-run stand with Akram, reaching his first fifty off 65 balls before shifting into top gear. His century took just 25 more, courtesy of four sixes, three of them straight. Mark Ilott may well struggle to recall the last time he hit his delivery stride with a batsman prancing out to meet him, let alone one who might, at a pinch, come up to his navel.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk