Bangladesh and Zimbabwe played their inaugural T20I in Khulna way back in November 2006. The only two active T20I cricketers from those 22 players - Shakib Al Hasan and Sean Williams - are still going strong. They are part of a group of only four players in this T20 World Cup who played the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007. Quite fittingly, the wicket of Zimbabwe veteran Williams (run out by, of course, Shakib) sealed the game for Bangladesh.
Or did it?
The final act of the game was as bizarre as it gets. Williams mentioned in his post-match press conference that in a career of more than a decade and a half, he hasn't seen something like that.
"It was extremely weird. Obviously, I've never experienced something like that in a cricket match before, but again, it just goes to show in a T20 game, there's always a little bit of hope; anything can happen," Williams said.
To defend 15 off the final over as a spinner might be a tough job at times. Mohammad Nawaz knows it well. But up against Mosaddek Hossain, there was no Virat Kohli or Hardik Pandya or Dinesh Karthik or R Ashwin. All he needed was to hold his nerves and land the ball in the right areas.
Ryan Burl knows a thing or two about taking down Bangladeshi (left-arm) spinners. But Mosaddek is an off-spinner, a bowling type Burl doesn't particularly like. And he got off strike first ball - albeit off a leg-bye - and then watched the drama unfold at the other end. And just like that unforgettable Nawaz over, it had almost everything - leg-byes, no ball, a four, a six and even a dot ball. (Not for the first time) Bangladesh celebrated too early and later found out that the job was not done.
Probably for the first time in many many years, Zimbabwe came into this match with an edge over Bangladesh. They had been flying high. On the other hand, Bangladesh were under pressure. A messy win followed by a massive embarrassment had the fans fuming. They had to deliver. And Nurul Hasan, known as technically the country's best keeper, made a huge blunder by collecting the ball before the stumps and it was called a no ball. It would've been a nightmare for Nurul if Zimbabwe could make use of the free hit and hit the winning runs.
But Bangladesh got the all-important two points and that's what matters at the end of the day. Taskin Ahmed was impressive again as the fast bowler struck in his first over for the third consecutive time in the tournament. Taskin went for plenty in the previous match and it was a good comeback from the speedster. He returned three for 19 and bagged the player-of-the-match award.
But what was more delightful for Bangladesh was to see Mustafizur Rahman return to form. He bowled well in the previous match as well against South Africa and was the only bowler to maintain a low economy rate despite going wicketless. But against Zimbabwe, he got two wickets including the one of the in-form Sikandar Raza, and gave away only 15 off his quota of four overs.
"Back home we play on slow wickets, and here we get early movement and help off the track as well. We've got a good bunch of fast bowlers who support each other and are working hard to improve. We get great support from our bowling coach (Allan Donald) and all the other support staff. We have a good group and hopefully, we'll improve more," a short-of-breath Taskin told the broadcasters after the match.
Najmul Hossain Shanto's 71 off 55 balls was the highlight of Bangladesh's innings and the left-hander will be happy with his progress and try to make the next couple of opportunities count.
Back to the 2006 veterans. In that match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe 16 years ago, Williams was dismissed by Shakib, and history (almost) repeated itself as Shakib got the former run out in the two countries' inaugural T20 World Cup meeting. And Bangladesh won on both occasions. This time, it was a little bit chaotic.
The victory gave Bangladesh more relief than delight. The Zimbabwe match was one of the two matches Bangladesh were expected to win. It was their only second victory against a full member.
It could have gone either way. It could have been a day to remember for the rest of the life for the "mini Castle Corner" - Zimbabwe's cheer squad - that's been following the team throughout the tournament. A win against Bangladesh could have seen them do something like what Kenya did in the 2003 World Cup. But it's a game of very small margins but Zimbabwe will be incredibly proud of what they have achieved so far and as Sean Williams said, this team can go places.