Love-Hate Relationship of Tigers and Kiwis

Bangladesh Cricket Team, known as Tigers, and New Zealand Cricket Team, known as Kiwis, carry the sobriquet of quite different type of animals and their approach, cricket history and fan following is also very different. Bangladesh is one of the densely populated countries while New Zealand has more cattle than their population, whose density shows a sharp contrast with that of Bangladesh. The south Asian county is mad for its cricket while their Polynesian counterparts consider cricket as a sport after rugby and football. Yet the country has been playing Test cricket for 77 years while Bangladesh entered into the elite arena just about 17 years ago. Even in the short-form, one-day internationals, Kiwis gave no chance to Tigers in until October 2008, when the latter at least beat them in their 12th encounter since 1990. Bangladesh lost their next five games but amazingly won seven games, all in their home yard, in a trot after that bad patch to make kiwis their most favourite victims among the higher ranked-sides. The last World Cup runners-up however won the next four matches,  which were played in New Zealand, of these two sides to take their rivalry into a new high. Today these two sides will meet each other at Dublin of Ireland and it’s worthwhile to recall some memorable moments that took place in the ODIs between these sides.

The first ever Half centurion Azhar Hossain Santu became the first ever Bangladeshi to score a fifty in an ODI and that came in their first ever match against New Zealand back in April 28, 1990. Santu’s nephew Mehrab Hossain later in 1999 became the first ever Bangladeshi to score a century in an ODI when he achieved the feat against Zimbabwe at Dhaka

Azhar Hossain Shantu (R), after completing his half century as the first Bangladeshi in 1990.

The first non-Asian side to face New Zealand was the first non-Asian side that Bangladesh faced when they played their sixth ever match in 1990. Before that match Bangladesh just played two matches each against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and one against India in two Asia Cups respectively held in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on 1988 and 1990.

Junaid Siddique plays a shot on his way to 85-run innings that earned him the man of the match against New Zealand and helped Tigers beat New Zealand for the first time in ODI.

The long wait But the Tigers had to wait long to beat kiwis. They took 18 years and six months since their first meeting to win as they finally hunted the kiwis down by seven wickets in October 9, 2008 in Dhaka.

Brendan McCullum rejoicing while playing a brutal innings against Tigers.

An act of butchery On the last day of 2007 Bangladesh faced a shambolic 10-wicket defeat but it was not only the margin but also the manner way they lost aggravated the shame. Thanks to Brendon McCullum’s whirlwind 80 off just 28 balls, New Zealand chased down Bangladesh’s score of 93 in just six overs to win the match sparing 264 balls, one of the heaviest defeats in ODI history and perhaps the greatest ignominy for Bangladesh in an ODI.

Bangladesh players rejoice with national flag after completing their whitewash against New Zealand in 2010.

Banglawash When paceman Rubel Hossain’s Yorker cartwheeled the stumps of Kyle Mills’ stumps that created one of the most memorable spectacles in Bangladesh’s cricket history. That  brought their 4-0 series victory against the visitors and although they had white washed Test teams like Zimbabwe and West Indies but the African side were so weak on those days that they withdrew themselves from Test arena and the Caribbeans fielded a second string side following a dispute  between board and the players.  So that win against Kiwis was the first whitewash against a genuinely strong side and famous commentator and former player Athar Ali Khan named it as ‘Banglawash’.

Tigers celebrate their series win against the kiwis in 2013.

The wash continues Banglawash saw its second version when Tigers won by 3-0 in their 2013 home series against the kiwis. In the last match despite the absence of their two stalwarts Tamim Iqbal and Sakib al Hasan, the hosts chased down 307 to win by three wickets. This is only one of the three successful over-300 run chase for Tigers in ODI. Tigers successfully chased over 300 only against non- Test playing Scotland and weakened Zimbabwe on other occasions.

No win away from home:  Bangladesh have won eight of their 28 matches against New Zealand so far but all those wins came in home soil. Today Tigers will be desperate to pick their first win away from home against kiwis.

Syed Faiz Ahmed

Syed Faiz Ahmed, is a National level bridge player who works for an english national daily as sub-editor. Translate and interpret from Bangla, English, French, German and vice versa.