Home > Features >

ICC World T20 2014: Munir Dar’s fairytale saga

Munir Dar © AFP
Munir Dar… Years of wait in the cricket-wilderness of Hong Kong has finally come off © AFP

Forty-year old Munir Dar scripted a historic win for Hong Kong over Bangladesh in ICC World Twenty20 2014. Abhishek Mukherjee celebrates a perfect end to a fairytale saga. 

Munir Dar was born in Gujrat (not Gujarat) in Punjab. Munir Dar can easily be passed as an Omar Sharif doppelganger. Munir Dar is 16 days past his 40th birthday. Munir Dar was suspended from bowling in international cricket for 12 months for having an illegal bowling action. Munir Dar had picked up four for 17 against both Canada and USA in the World Twenty20 qualifier.

When Hong Kong had managed to qualify for the Asia Cup 2008, he had scored 14 and four; he did not pick up a wicket, but bowled neat spells of 8-1-34-0 against Pakistan (in a score of 288 for nine) and 10-0-55-0 against India (in a score of 374 for four). Then he had vanished into oblivion, probably without any hope of playing at the big stage.

In the ongoing ICC World T20 2014, Hong Kong had been thrashed by Nepal in the first match. Dar did not play in that match. He made his T20I debut the next match against Afghanistan, where Hong Kong lost again despite doing somewhat better. They were definitely not expected to win against Bangladesh, easily the best of the four teams till today.

But suddenly all went wrong for the hosts: Tanwir Afzal picked up two wickets in the first over; and then, from 85 for three they lost the last seven wickets for 23 runs in the space of a mere 35 balls. Suddenly Bangladesh found them defending 109 in 20 overs (in 13.1 overs if they wanted to reach the final).

The Hong Kong onslaught was started by the powerful Irfan Ahmed, who, with his strong shoulders and baseball-like stance hit a few home runs sixes; once he fell, however, Hong Kong lost four wickets for six runs in the space of 12 balls: it was all falling apart for them. Nepal were as good as knocked out; and a sense of déjà vu crept in the hearts of the cricket fans. Why can the minnows not capitalise on great starts?

It was then that the 40-year old took control in what was probably his last match against a Test side: with Nizakat Khan in tow, he started off in ones and twos. They needed 59 from 65 balls when the fifth wicket fell; the gap between balls and runs kept on reducing; but Dar never lost his cool. Then, with 48 left from 46 balls, he shuffled across and hit Farhad Reza past square-leg for four.

The pressure was lifted, albeit temporarily. The gap closed in as Mohammad Mahmudullah brought things down to 36 from 36. Dar steered the first ball from Rubel Hossain towards third man; the ball raced towards the fence, but an amazing stop by the fielder stopped the boundary. Dar, who had assumed a certain boundary, had strolled across the pitch; when the realisation dawned upon him that the ball would not reach the fence, he sprinted unusually fast for a man of his frame and age and made his crease — but not before he collided with the little Mushfiqur Rahim.

Dar went down in agony, but after a few minutes of medical assistance he was back up on his feet; he had a banana, steered the next ball to third-man, and this time he made a dash for the non-striker’s end. Just in case, he must have thought: it was, unfortunately, a mere single.

Then Mahmudullah sent down the 15th over — one that yielded a mere three runs. Nizakat, unable to restrain himself, gave in to the pressure that had been accumulating due to the dot balls; Mominul Haque, the substitute, took an easy catch at deep backward square-leg.

Four overs. 26 runs. What would Dar do?

Reza bounced; Dar hooked ferociously; the ball took the top edge and raced to the fence through the vacant long-leg. Reza pitched up the next ball, and Dar hit him straight above his head; the Bangladeshi spectators watched the ball soar across the fence for a six.

The third one was defended, but he slashed hard at the fourth ball; it went past Mushfiqur’s right glove, was too fine for third-man, and Dar found another boundary. He pushed the next ball to third-man for a single, and Hong Kong were left to score 11 from the last three overs.

Then it happened. Abdur Razzak, veteran of many a battle despite his age, conceded only two leg-byes from the first four balls. Then came a brain-freeze, and Dar tried to play Razzak across the line, and was trapped leg-before; a fuming Dar left ground — probably for the last time in international cricket — after a 27-ball 36.

Some frantic hitting from Haseeb Amjad finished things off with two balls to spare.

It was as good as fairytales go. A forty-year old playing for a side that had only dreamed of playing against the major sides and had been humiliated in the Asia Cup when that had actually happened. They were not supposed to win a match in the ICC World Twenty20. They never had any chance after being thwarted by Nepal.

But the man, a veteran of world cricket, had managed to pull it through. He had dreamed of this since he had been playing the Hong Kong Super Sixes. He had dreamed of this when he played one qualifier after another. The 40-year old should ideally have smiled in satisfaction, looking back at his career that had culminated in helping his side to qualify for the World Twenty20.

Only that he did not. Years of wait in the cricket-wilderness of Hong Kong had finally come off, resulting in him masterminding a successful chase against a Test nation, no less. Now he can sign off in peace.

These are stories dreams are made of.

These are stories movies are made of.

Only that no one will, for he is too nondescript for that. Despite being an Omar Sharif doppelganger.

ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

 

ICC World T20 2014 Schedule details

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Bhuvneshwar Kumar England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

CPL 2014: Trinidad and Tobago to be integrated in Red Steel’s team name

Jos Buttler calls his Test call-up for England against India a “dream come true”

Pakistan court helps family of girl cricketer who committed suicide

Pakistan Cricket Board aims to introduce democratic process of governance

Sachin Tendulkar not offended by Maria Sharapova’s comment

Ishant Sharma: The enigma who takes key wickets

Statistical highlights of India vs England 2014, 2nd Test at Lord’s

Ishant Sharma’s email inbox after the Lord’s Test match against England

Ishant Sharma’s house targetted by fans after expecting another failure

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Nvidia Shield Tablet powered by a Tegra K1 processor announced

Why did Kareena Kapoor Khan reject six films in last five months?

What did Anil Kapoor do for daughters Sonam Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor’s Khoobsurat?

Xiaomi Mi4 announced; backed by 2.5 GHz quad-core processor and 3GB Ram!

Telecom stocks ring in gain; Nifty zooms 84 points

Diet Tip #23 – Switch to rice bran oil for better health

Know Your Exercises – Double leg butt kick

Kick: Salman Khan’s killer dialogues printed on T-shirts!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here