Soumya Sarkar
Soumya Sarkar played an important role in the last two ODIs for Bangladesh to help the Tigers win the series against South Africa.Reuters

After defeating Pakistan and India in their previous series, South Africa were supposed to be the biggest test for Bangladesh, and the "Tigers" have passed it with flying colours. Bangladesh defeated South Africa in the third and final ODI of the series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday to script a historic 2-1 win.

After being blanked 2-0 in the T20 series and following a below-par performance in the first ODI against the Proteas, Bangladesh's series victories against Pakistan and India looked a flash in the pan. But, Bangladesh, under the leadership of Mashrafe Mortaza, are a much-more determined unit nowadays, which was evident as they played good cricket to win the second ODI.

Hence, there was pressure on both the teams to perform in the third ODI to clinch the series. It was the Proteas who buckled under pressure.

The story has been the same for South Africa in the ODI series as they once again lost wickets at regular intervals, after choosing to bat first, with none of the batsmen shouldering the responsibility in AB de Villiers' absence.

South Africa were 50 for the loss of four wickets at one point, and they could not recover well enough as they only scored 168 runs in the rain-affected game, which was reduced to 40 overs.

The Bangladesh bowlers looked in complete command of the match as the rain did not hamper their performance. All their bowlers bowled brilliantly, with Shakib al Hasan and Rubel Hossain the pick of the bowlers with three and two wickets respectively.

The Bangladesh openers -- Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal -- played important knocks, with Sarkar scoring a match-winning 90 runs. Even Tamim, who was out of touch in the series coming into this final match, played a steady hand at the other hand, scoring an unbeaten 61 runs to help his team cross the finishing line.

The series victory led to incredible scenes at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, where the home fans went beserk.

Though, Bangladesh might have won a number of series of late, this series victory will be even more special as they showed a lot of character to come back from 1-0 down.

"Beating a big side is different than beating weaker teams. It's always important to hold on to the momentum. We have done so since the World Cup, through the Pakistan and India series. We made a brilliant comeback against South Africa after three losses. It was much needed. It shows character," ESPNCricinfo quoted Mortaza as saying.

There was a time in world cricket when Bangladesh were seen as the minnows. They have come a long way from that and such a series win will give them immense confidence to take on any team in the world and emerge victorious.

Bangladesh skipper Mortaza hopes that this victory will help them win in the future as well.

"We used to dream of beating big teams. Now we are beating them," he added.

"We should maintain discipline because there will be a lot of tough challenges coming up. I knew that if we have a good World Cup, we will be set up for the rest of the year. That's what has happened. We have four Tests coming up and I will hope these series win will help us."

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