The Bangladesh cricket team breezed to an historic win over Pakistan Sunday in a game that appears to mark a new balance of power on the Indian subcontinent where cricket is king.
Bangladesh followed up their landmark victory in the first One Day International match of the Pakistan tour on Friday with an emphatic seven-wicket win Sunday, needing only into the 39th over to blow past Pakistan’s 239/6, at Shere Bangla National Stadium in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.
The Bangladesh triumph in the second ODI clinches the Tigers their first series victory over Pakistan in any format of cricket in the 44 years since Bangladesh — formerly known as East Pakistan — broke away from what was then a brutal, military government in Pakistan, in a bloody war for independence in 1971.
The cricket series provides some respite from the near-constant, violent political turmoil rocking Bangladesh this year. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed was in attendance at the historic match waving the Bangladeshi flag as players shook hands on the field, celebrating the historic victory, less than six weeks after narrowly avoiding assassination by a roadside bomb blast in a Dhaka neighborhood.
Sheikh Hasina, 67, is the daughter of the man considered to be the father of the Bangladesh nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led the rebellion against Pakistan, only to be assassinated by his own military officers in 1975 along with his whole family, except for Hasina and one other daughter who were living abroad.
On Friday, Bangladesh beat Pakistan for the first time in 16 years, and for only the second time ever in any format of cricket. After Sunday’s match, the Tigers have now defeated their arch-rivals two times in three days.
Pakistan now has one last chance to avoid a 3-0 sweep in the ODI series. A loss would drop Pakistan into a tie with West Indies for the seventh spot in the world ODI rankings.
For the second straight game, Bangladesh was led by opener Tamim Iqbal who smashed his second consecutive century, winding up at 116 not out as a sequel to his 132 on Friday.
Bangladesh bowlers restricted Pakistan, who batted first, to a dangerously low 77 for the first five wickets, before World Cup hero Wahab Riaz and Saad Nasim smacked half-centuries to give their country a fighting chance.
Pakistan is fielding a depleted squad following a series of injuries and the retirement of longtime ODI captain Misbah-al-Huq. In fact, only four members of the Pakistan side that made it to the World Cup quarterfinals, only to fall to eventual champion Australia, are currently active on the squad.
The third and final match of the Pakistan vs. Bangladesh ODI series will be played Wednesday in Dhaka. After the lone T20 International between the two nations, the tour then finishes with two test matches in May.
[Image via CricBuzz]