The Aussies condemned Bangladesh to a second straight defeat but a late fight back by Mashrafe Mortaza’s depleted side earned universal praise from print and social media in the cricket-mad nation.
“Valiant Tigers go down fighting,” declared the Dhaka Tribune.
The New Age and Daily Star newspapers also praised Bangladesh’s “fighting” spirit in Monday’s Super 10 Group Two match in Bangalore.
“Just loved the team’s effort. It was a great game! I’m proud of the way the Tigers played tonight,” Bangladeshi fan Sharjana Alam wrote on Facebook.
Australia opener Usman Khawaja hit a quick 50 as his team successfully chased down Bangladesh’s total of 156 for five, with only nine balls to spare.
But Bangladesh’s string of bowlers had mounted a spirited attack after suffering a devastating blow when ace pacer Taskin Ahmed and spinner Arafat Sunny were suspended for illegal bowling actions at the weekend.
The team’s most successful batsman Tamim Iqbal, who has been in great form prior to the match, was also pulled out at the last moment after he suffered stomach trouble.
“Good incisive bowling by Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan created an exciting chance for victory,” wrote former Bangladeshi captain Gazi Ashraf in the Bengali Prothom Alo daily, ruing some missed catches.
Bangladesh, who qualified from the preliminary round for the Super 10 stage, lost heavily to Pakistan in their opening match and sit bottom of Group Two, leaving them virtually no chance of making the semis.
They play India on Wednesday.