Bangladesh now have qualified for ICC Champions Trophy 2017 © AFP
Bangladesh now have qualified for ICC Champions Trophy 2017 © AFP

Bangladesh created history in more than one way during the second One-Day International (ODI) against Bangladesh. 20-year old Mustafizur Rahman became the first bowler to take 11 wickets in the first two ODIs of a career, and that played a huge part in the grander achievement of Bangladesh’s victory against India for the first time in an ODI series. Rishad D’Souza merits the win to Bangladesh’s own hard work and talent, refuting any frivolous claims of the win being fluke.

Bangladesh’s ascent in ODI cricket has been steep and shows no signs of relenting. Not only were they responsible for knocking England out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, but they will now account for either Pakistan or West Indies’ ouster from the the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in 2017. If they retain their focus and continuing playing hard, there’s no limit on what they could achieve in those big tournaments. READ: Bangladesh should now get the respect which they truly deserve

Their success has come as a result of years of perseverance, grit and determination. They have long been the butt of ridicule among cricketing circles, being one of the most incompetent sides of all the Full Members. Their frequent losses to Associate nations like Ireland, Afghanistan and even Hong Kong (in a T20I) did not help, yet the players kept the faith and their fans were patient. READ: Bangladesh — What is so special about this team?

What seemed to be fruitless efforts by the Bangladesh side for over a decade since earning Test status in 2000 have started blossoming at a rapid rate in the past couple of years. Previously Shakib Al Hasan was the only Bangladesh cricketer who enjoyed a good recall value among the international cricket fans. He has been joined by a few more now. READ: Bangladesh have shown tremendous depth in quality since ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Bangladesh’s ODI exploits include whitewashing New Zealand (twice!), Pakistan and they are one game away from consigning India to the same fate. Even if they do lose the final game, the achievement of claiming a series win over the best ODI side in the sub -continent will stay with them for long. READ: Is Virat Kohli a cheat? Bangladesh umpire Sharfuddoula seems to think so!

Prior to the series, captain Mashrafe Mortaza himself admitted to India being the favourites. India’s credibility in the 50-over game, especially in sub-continent conditions can barely be argued. Their being the best ODI side in such conditions is a matter of little debate. The ardent fans of such a dominant team will understandably have hurt egos after losing to Bangladesh. Many of them will go on to claim that the win was just fluke. READ: Mustafizur Rahman: Another example of Bangladesh’s growing pool of international talent

Admittedly, the first ODI of the series did leave some room for debate over whether India lost because of complacency and not because of Bangladesh’s sheer skills. Perhaps India were taken by surprise by Bangladesh team’s development. Maybe, they were not prepared for Mustafizur Rahman’s style of bowling since they had seen nothing of him previously.

However, none of those excuses can be applied to their defeat in the second ODI. It was quite evident that India were beaten fair and square by a much-improved team. India would have devised plans to counter Mustafizur, having seen him in the first game, the plans didn’t work and any symptoms of complacency would have perished after the first defeat. Yet they again lost.

Some will still harp over the controversial decision about Virat Kohli’s catch of Tamim Iqbal (who was later dismissed for 13 anyway) as the reason for defeat. That is as petty as Bangladesh supporters blaming their team’s defeat to India in the World Cup quarter-final on the Rohit Sharma no-ball incident.

The fact is, India were comprehensively outplayed by a better team. MS Dhoni accepted the defeat graciously, admitting Bangladesh outclassed India in all departments. If people still itch to call the win a fluke, they’ll be disrespecting not only Bangladesh’s historic achievement but even the Indian captain’s honest opinion.

 (Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)