Shakib Al Hasan: A man born to create milestone
Talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan now won two matches for Bangladesh in this World Cup, all by alone. When most of his teammates looked inconsistent, he did it by his own almost, albeit with little support from two different men in two different games.
In Bangladesh's 21-run victory over South Africa, he found support from Mushfiqur Rahim. Here against West Indies, he got support from Liton Das who accumulated calmly before sensationally accelerating, hitting Shannon Gabriel for three consecutive sixes during the course of his 69 ball-94 not out in his World Cup debut.
But Shakib Al Hasan is from different planet. In Bangladesh's first match in this World Cup, Shakib took the momentum away from South Africa, playing a sensational knock of 75 when the Proteas started ruling the Tigers. Here when the Caribbean looked pumped up, reducing Bangladesh to 123-3 in 18th over, Shakib took them in disdain to propel the Tigers pull off the second highest chase in World Cup history with a dominant seven-wicket win at Taunton.
With the determination he practiced, witness said he is destined to be something extraordinary in this World Cup. And it turns out to be preciously right.
This World Cup seemed to turn to be a milestone tournament for Shakib Al Hasan.
He also struck two half-centuries, before hitting two successive centuries, meaning his 124 not out against West Indies, ninth ODI century is his fourth straight fifty plus knock in the World Cup, a feat that no Bangladeshi could achieve so far. And it should be noted, he also kept striking with ball at regular intervals even though this World Cup pitch have nothing for the spinners.
However, Shakib Al Hasan became the only second Bangladeshi batsman after Tamim Iqbal to reach the milestone of 6000 runs during his 124 not out.
The milestone became even sweeter because he led from the front to help Bangladesh win it by seven wickets.
In form Shakib began the match with 23 runs shy of reaching the milestone and as he completed those runs chopping a length delivery off fast bowler Oshane Thomas to third man region for two runs.
As Bangladesh lost an early wicket in the chase of 322 runs when Andre Russell got the better of Soumya Sarkar with a short ball, Shakib gave the chase an impetus with free flowing batting alongside Tamim Iqbal.
Earlier, he reached the milestone of 5000 runs and 250 wickets as the fifth cricketer of the world when he claimed the wicket of Aiden Markram in Bangladesh's first match of the World Cup against South Africa. He achieved the feat faster than the other four cricketers-Sanath Jayasuirya, Abdul Razzak, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis-who also hold this rare record.
Now he joins an elite list of the double of 6000 runs and 250 wickets that included only three others-Jayasurya, Afridi and Kallis-apart from him. And again he did it faster than them in 202 ODIs.
When Bangladesh played their second match of this World Cup against New Zealand, Shakib became the third Bangladeshi cricketer to play 200th ODI.
In Bangladesh's third match against England, he became the only second Bangladeshi cricketer to hit a World Cup century after Mahmudullah Riyad.
Bangladesh's fourth match against Sri Lanka was washed out due to heavy rain, which only could prevent Shakib from reaching some more milestones. And when rain stayed away from Taunton against West Indies, no one could prevent Shakib from creating another milestone. This time he struck second successive century to emulate Mahmudullah Riyad who hit tons against England and New Zealand in consecutive matches in 2015 World Cup.