It felt like this Cricket World Cup had been crying out for a close finish. Maybe it had just been crying out for Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshis claimed a win at the first attempt in this competition and put a major dent in South Africa’s chances of making it to the knockout stage of the competition in the process.
A fine all-round display from the Asian side gave them a 21-run win in their tournament opener against the faltering Proteas.
It was South Africa’s second defeat in a tournament in which one team – India – have yet to play once.
The South Africans face India in their next assignment, knowing that a third defeat would make their chances of reaching the semi-finals perilously slim.
Just as Dubai and Abu Dhabi had become during the Asia Cup last September, The Oval became like an enclave of Dhaka when the Bangladesh team came to town.
Their passionate support thrilled to the excellence of a side that is riding a wave of confidence, having arrived for this tournament on the back of winning a first ever one-day international series final, in Ireland last month.
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Those who led from the front were the usual suspects. Mushfiqur Rahim, who was integral to Bangladesh first causing World Cup upsets like this as far back as 2007 in the Caribbean, top-scored.
He made 78, and shared in a stand worth 142 with Shakib Al Hasan, who hit 75. Their stand, as well as quick salvos at either end of the innings from Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah, meant Bangladesh reached 330-6, their highest ever first-innings score in World Cups.
It was not just national records they were breaking. Later in the match, Shakib bowled Aiden Markram, the South Africa opener who was well set on 45.
That wicket meant the 32-year-old left-hander became the fifth all-rounder in ODI history to complete a career double of 5,000 runs and 250 wickets.
He joined celebrated company, following Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, Jacques Kallis and Abdul Razzaq. Shakib has done it in 199 matches, which was the quickest rate of any of them.
His efforts against South Africa earned him the match award, and he says he wants more from himself and his side after the fine start they have made.
“This is my fourth World Cup, and this is the tournament where we want to prove something,” Shakib said in his post-match television interview.
“The start can't get better than this. This is the start we needed, we had the belief as we came in to England. The dressing room will be happy but they know the job has just started.”
Mustafizur Rahman took three wickets as South Africa’s chase faltered after captain Faf du Plessis was bowled for 62 by Mehidy Hasan.
To add injury to insult, Lungi Ngidi limped out of the match after bowling four overs, having suffered an injury to his left-hamstring.
Hashim Amla was left out due to concussion, after being hit on the head by Jofra Archer in the opening defeat to England, while Dale Steyn has still yet to return from the shoulder injury sustained at the Indian Premier League.
“Even with Lungi's injury – he's our death bowler with [Kagiso Rabada] – to go for 54 off the last four was damaging,” Du Plessis said.
“Dale Steyn is bowling in the middle now, and hopefully there is some progress [ahead of the game against India on Wednesday]. It won't get easier from here.”
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said: “The crowd was behind us, and hopefully the expats will come back to support us. Back home, those watching on TV, will also expect us to win.”