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No reprieve for Bangla
- Pollock's four-wicket haul hastens hosts' collapse

Dhaka: There was no reprieve to Bangladesh’s sagging cricketing fortunes as they went down to South Africa by 83 runs in the TVS Cup triangular series here Monday.

Chasing a stiff target of 295 for victory, Bangladesh were shot out for 211 in 49.3 overs. The hosts extended their world record sequence of consecutive defeats to 34 matches.

Only opener Mohammed Ashraf-ul and Khaled Mahmud were able to notch up decent scores against a disciplined South African attack led by former captain Shaun Pollock who finished with figures of four for 36.

Ashraf-ul scored 52 while Mahmud played an important 40-run knock towards the end which enabled Bangladesh to cross the 200-run mark.

Though the home team put up a vastly improved performance, they never seemed to be in the hunt as pressure kept mounting on them after the fall of every wicket. With two defeats in a row in this tournament, Bangladesh are as good as out of contention for a berth in the final.

The home team got off to one of their best starts in recent times as both the South African new ball operators Makhaya Ntini and Charl Willoughby strayed in line and length. The opening pair of Ashraful and Javed Omar fetched 24 runs before Ntini provided the breakthrough by getting rid of Omar.

Ashraful was in fine touch and played some audacious shots against the speedsters while the new batsman Habibul Bashar settled into a supporting role as the duo went about building the innings.

Smith introduced the experienced Pollock into the attack in the tenth over and he immediately produced results by making it difficult for the batsmen to score runs.

The second wicket partnership yielded 58 runs before the young Allan Dawson sent Bashar back to the pavillion. Bashar (18) attempted a square cut but missed the line completely to see his off-stump dislodged.

Sanwar Hussain departed soon after as Bangladesh slumped from a comfortable 82 for one to 83 for three by the 18th over. It soon became 112 for four when Paul Adams ended Ashraful’s vigil at the crease. His determined knock of 52 came off 94 balls and included seven boundaries.

Except for Khaled Mahmud (40), the visitors faced little resistance thereafter.

Earlier, the South African batsmen made a mockery of the weak Bangladesh bowling attack to pile up an imposing 294 for three.

Most of South Africa’s top order batsmen took the opportunity to get into form on a placid track and left the home team with a stiff asking rate of around six runs per over. Boeta Dippenaar (66 n.o.), Herschelle Gibbs (62) and Neil McKenzie (56 n.o.) were the main contributors, after South Africa opted to bat first.

The Proteas got off to a breezy start. Openers Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs punished the Bangladeshi new ball bowlers who failed to bowl to a tidy line and length.

The two openers seemed to be in no difficulty at all as they scored at over six runs an over in the early stages with Gibbs being particularly severe on pacer Tareq Aziz Khan. Bangladesh captain Khaled Mahmud introduced spinner Mohammed Rafique in the 13th over to contain the run flow but without much luck.

The opening pair put on a rollicking 112-run stand before Smith fell prey to left-hand spinner Rafique for 45, which came off just 46 balls and was laced with eight boundaries.

Smith stepped out of his crease to lift Rafique over the bowler’s head but mistimed his shot completely and was smartly stumped by wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud. Gibbs and new batsman Jacques Rudolph (44) maintained the scoring rate before Gibbs appeared a little casual in trying to reach the safety of his crease and paid the price. His 62 came off as many balls and contained ten hits to the boundary.

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