Broken wrist, brave heart: Tamim applauded for batting one-handed

Tamim Iqbal returning to the crease after nine wickets had fallen helped Bangladesh and Mushfiqur Rahim add 32 more runs to the total.

Tamim Iqbal came out to bat with his injured left hand covered in an orthopedic cast.   -  AP

As Mustafizur Rahman joined Mushfiqur Rahim — who was one shot away from a hundred — in the middle after the fall of the eighth wicket at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday evening, everyone in the stadium barring a bunch of Tigers in the Bangladesh dressing room knew that Sri Lanka was a solitary wicket away from winding up the Bangladesh innings. After all, news had trickled out by then that Tamim Iqbal, having been hit on left wrist in the second over, had had a fracture and was all but ruled out of action for six weeks.

Five overs hence, when Mustafizur threw his wicket away with 19 balls remaining in the match, Bangladesh was 229 for nine. Tamim, with a heavily strapped left hand and four of his five fingers popping out of the gloves, walked out to join his mate and negotiated the last ball of the 47th over with one hand.

Momentum shift

Spurred by Tamim's brave effort, Mushfiqur cut loose. Not only did he face all the remaining deliveries till he was caught with two balls remaining in the innings, he also swung the momentum Bangladesh's way. The bowlers piled on the pressure in the latter half to help Bangladesh whack Sri Lanka by 137 runs.

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That one ball he faced and the 17 balls he accompanied Mushfiqur made Tamim as a big hero of the Asia Cup contest. He shared the spotlight alongside Mushfiqur, who notched up Bangladesh' second-highest ODI score. and Lasith Malinga, who marked a return to international cricket after a year with a four-wicket hall.

'Hats off'

Tamim's gallant act was as heroic as Anil Kumble bowling with a broken jaw in a Test match in Antigua in 2002. While Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, stated Tamim “showed character” by batting “one-handed,” his Bangladesh counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza revealed it was solely the batsman's decision to join Mushfiqur in the middle.

“It was Tamim’s decision. One should remember Tamim for this match. Anything could have happened. His career could have been affected. Mushfiqur was boosted by his reappearance at that stage. Hats off to Tamim for going out to bat at that time,” Mashrafe said after the match.

While Tamim is virtually ruled out for six weeks, the Bangladesh camp is hoping for a miracle. “We still don’t know what’s going on with him. The scan has to be done again, in two days. There’s a little fracture for sure, but we have to find out how bad it is. Not having him is a big blow but we have some players in the bank,” Mashrafe said.

Even if Tamim doesn't play any further part in the tournament, the Asia Cup will for long be remembered for the left-handed opener's brave gesture.

PTI adds:

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews lauded Tamim. “Tamim showed a lot of guts. I thought Mushfiqur batted really well. Mushfiqur was out there and he (Tamim) came in to bat. And that 20-30 runs also made the difference. It was a really bad performance from the batting unit.

“We had to change our combination because of Danuskha and Chandimal’s injury. We went in with one less batsman thinking Dilruwan can bat at number eight. But one of the batting has to be done by one of the top order batters. They showed a lot of guts. Credits goes to Bangladesh, they outplayed us in all three departments of the game.”