Another “Shakib Al Hasan Day” saves a struggling Bangladesh

The recurring phenomena known as “Shakib Al Hasan Day” is jam-packed with Shakib Al Hasan’s many accomplishments. He revives Bangladesh’s faltering batting. He tries to get a late burst of runs as he farms the strike with a tailender. He brings the finishing touches with late wickets after making early breakthroughs, providing steadiness during the middle overs. Though they are supposed to be infrequent, Shakib has experienced numerous of them throughout the course of his 16-year career.

Shakib has now scored fifty runs and taken four wickets in an ODI for the fourth time in his career, tying Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi for the most such feats in cricket. He also completed the five-for.

Yet these Shakib Al Hasan days are typically more important than decorative when a talented all-around player is playing for a side that frequently faces difficulties.

Shakib reached 300 ODI wickets in this match, and he is currently 24 runs shy of the 7,000-run mark overall. In ODIs, only Afridi and Sanath Jayasuriya have accomplished these feats. Jayasuriya and Afridi typically had seven or eight match-winners between them to spread the responsibility. Shakib had two or three others during a large portion of his career. Maybe there are now a few more.

It’s difficult to choose which of Shakib’s performances on Monday meant more. The success of Bangladesh was dependent on both.

When the innings was winding down, he scored 75 scores from 71 balls. In the final ten overs, he was unable to persuade Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, or Mehidy Hasan Miraz to stick around long enough to share the slogging chores.

Shakib needed to wait 35 balls for his first boundary in order to survive Bangladesh’s brief middle-order collapse. When he did, he delivered two consecutive blows to Sam Curran. The remainder of his boundaries materialised towards the end of the game when he was out of partners, but Shakib is the type of active player who reaches 30 or so without anyone noticing before discovering the boundaries.

The ball then needed to be used by Shakib. England got off to another fast start before he took out both of the openers, Phil Salt and Jason Roy, to level the playing field for the home team. Roy had no response for what he refers to as Shakib’s “undercutter,” and Salt was furious with himself for not getting out to a short ball. In essence, Roy played back the arm ball and allowed it to slide beneath his bat.

While everyone watching were focused on Shakib’s upcoming 300th wicket, he continued to bowl tightly. As Taijul Islam’s time from the pavilion end came to a conclusion, Tamim held him back for his final two overs, which appeared to have the potential to decide the game.

Jos Buttler was taken out by Taijul, but Shakib also secured the victory by forcing James Vince to follow his line on middle and leg before it broke sharply and took the outside edge (Mushfiqur Rahim juggled a bit but took it safely). Rehan Ahmed was caught at short midwicket after failing to timing Shakib’s half-tracker for his 300th ODI wicket.

When Shakib takes four wickets and scores fifty runs in an ODI, Bangladesh always triumphs. In the landmark Bangladesh-New Zealand series in 2010, the first occurrence occurred. Mashrafe Mortaza’s injury in the first over forced Shakib into the captaincy, but he also opened the series with 58 and a four-wicket haul.

The following double came in his comeback to international cricket following a BCB suspension, against Zimbabwe in 2014. The third one happened in the 2019 World Cup versus Afghanistan, when pretty much everything Shakib touched went to gold. Just twice in the World Cup have there been a fifty and a five-wicket haul.

Shakib’s consistency in Tests is what elevates him to the level of the elite all-arounders. In ten Test matches, he has five wickets and a fifty. Nobody has done it more than Ian Botham. Six times, Shakib has scored a fifty and five wickets, and once each for two fifties and five wickets, one hundred and five wickets, one hundred and ten wickets, and a fifty and ten wickets. Of these tests, Bangladesh only triumphed in three.

Whatever the team’s outcome, it emphasises the physical strain Shakib has had to bear over the years. After Mohammad Rafique’s retirement, Shakib has been responsible for attacking, defending, and consolidating with the ball. He has always had to put on the pads immediately in order to give the team a fighting 50-minute span. The rest of the team only contributed enough to win tests against the West Indies (2009), Zimbabwe (2014), and Australia (2017).

Tamim Iqbal, who has seen these days from Shakib for many years, praised his long-time teammate for his contributions.

“I thought he was phenomenal,” he said. “The way he batted, especially with the tailenders, those 20-25 runs were very important. Honestly, the wicket didn’t have that much spin, but the way he bowled was brilliant. It gave confidence to Taijul, who didn’t start well. He was talking to Shakib. I thought it was a fantastic effort from him.”

Tamim said Shakib’s ability to handle pressure made him a special cricketer and called him a “blessing”.

“I think he is mentally very strong,” he added. “Most of the time you will see him come out of pressure situations with similar performances. He has done it in the past. He has great skill-set to back his mentality. Not many people are blessed like him to bowl 10 overs and bat the way he bats. Any team will be blessed to have a player like him.”

Shakib for Bangladesh is arguably best described as a blessing. It has occasionally been a stretch to ask him to do it repeatedly over the course of 16 years. Shakib, however, has succeeded, whether it was in a dead match or on the largest platform. A decisive drive from Shakib is essential to Bangladesh’s goals in a World Cup year.

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