Kolkata, March 15: Bangladesh will take on Pakistan in a Group 2 match in the ongoing World T20 at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday (March 16).
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For Bangladesh, who beat Pakistan in the recently held Asia Cup and finished runners-up in the tournament, it will be a special occasion. The team from the erstwhile East Bengal will play at the famous venue in West Bengal after 25 years! And their opponents in the erstwhile West Pakistan will also make the occasion special.
Bangladesh had last played at Eden in Dec 1990 against India
Bangladesh's last appearance at the Eden Gardens was on December 25, 1990, when they took on hosts India in the Asia Cup. Minnows then, the Bangladeshi team led by Minhajul Abedin could manage just 170 runs for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 50 overs.
Minnows then, Bangladesh could manage just 170 in 50 overs and then were blown away by Sidhu's ton
Faruk Ahmed top scored for them with 57 and Athar Ali Khan ( a television commentator now) made 44. For India, Kapil Dev and V Raju were the pick of the bowlers with two wickets apiece.
The hosts had little problem in overhauling the target and they did it with more than 13 overs to spare. Opener Navjot Singh Sidhu smashed an unbeaten 104 off 109 balls. Woorkeri Raman (44 off 101 balls) was the only batsman out for India and his wicket was claimed by Athar Ali Khan.
Bangladesh had a chance to play at Eden in 1998 but couldn't make the finals
A lot of tournaments have been played in India after that and a lot of teams also came to participate in those, including Bangladesh. But the neighbours never got a chance to play a match at the Eden Gardens again. They had a chance in 1998 when the final of a triangular tournament involving India, Bangladesh and Kenya was played at the same venue. But Bangladesh could not qualify for the final, which was eventually won by India.
Today, Bangladesh are a Test-playing side and an experienced one, too
Bangladesh today is a far advanced side than what they were in 1990. They are a Test-playing team now and also made it to the quarter-finals of the 50-over World Cup last year in Australia. They have taken part in five 50-over and five T20 World Cups in between. Their victories against top teams are not called upsets anymore.
Only Sakib al Hasan has played at Eden for the KKR in IPL
However, one player in that Bangladeshi outfit which will take the field against Pakistan tomorrow has played at the Eden Gardens. He is Shakib al Hasan who, as a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders, has appeared for his team in this venue in the Indian Premier League. Apart from that, no other Bangladeshi from the current team has any experience of playing at the Eden.
Athar Ali Khan, a commentator now, is the only other link
Athar Ali Khan, who might be present as the commentator in the match tomorrow, will be Bangladesh's only other connection with the Eden.
It will be interesting which team gets more support in the match which is being played in Bengal. Pakistan have seen a lot of support from the fans here but when it comes to Bangladesh, the level of emotion could be a notch higher.