Chasing 237, Zimbabwe were 131-4 within the 33rd over. Bangladesh skipper Khaled Masud then called in Shahadat Hossain Rajib and handed him the ball. Exactly at that time, Mohammad Ashraful told Shahadat, "Rajib, you must pick up a hattrick. Bowl fast and break the stumps."
Ashraful's word gave Shahadat a boost of confidence and he backed himself to bring down the opposition. His first delivery saw Tafadzwa Mufambisi sent back and then Shahadat sent back Elton Chigumbura in the next.
Rajin Saleh came up before the third delivery and said, "Rajib, I bless you, you will get the hattrick." Shahadat took a little more time and bowled his third ball and sent back Prosper Utseya to complete his hattrick and become the first Bangladeshi bowler to pick up an ODI hattrick. Despite that, Shahadat repents losing that match.
Seven bowlers have picked up hattricks for Bangladesh in international cricket. In this episode of The Business Standard's (TBS) hattrick-hero series, we bring you the story of Shahadat Hossain and his hattrick in Harare 14 years back.
In Shahadat's words
I picked up the hattrick on August 2 and my birthday was on August 7. Before my hattrick, Zimbabwe were in a very strong position. We needed a breakthrough at that moment to win. I bowled decently in my first spell but did not get a wicket. When I came back to bowl my third spell, the ball was already reversing.
So when Pilot bhai (Khaled Masud) gave me the ball, Rajin bhai told me, "Pagla, you have to bowl well. If you can pick up 3-4 wickets then we will win." I said that I will bowl well. I was very young then, I had only been playing in the national side for a year or so. Ashraful bhai was saying to me, "Rajib, you have to pick up a hattrick. Bowl fast and break the stumps."
I agreed with him and bowled the first delivery on the fourth stump and got a wicket. I got into my rhythm and Ashraful bhai suggested I bowl a yorker to Chigumbura. Ashraful bhai moved from cover to mid-on to inspire me and told me, "The ball is reversing, if you bowl a yorker it will trap him LBW." So, I bowled a yorker and got Chigumbura out. Then Rajin bhai told me, "Rajib, I bless you, you will get the hattrick."
I took my time to bowl the hattrick ball. Rajin bhai and Ashraful bhai was telling me, "The batsman will be prepared for a yorker. Bowl it on a good length." I bowled it on the fourth stump line and Utseya edged it to the wicket-keeper. I did not grasp the fact right away that I just picked up the first ODI hattrick for Bangladesh. It was a wonderful experience.
Everyone hugged me like I had scored a stoppage-time winner in football. Not just the players, everybody came down to the field, the coach the manager. Shakib (Al Hasan) was there, it was his debut series. I was feeling very good. Everybody picks up wickets but not everyone gets a hattrick. It was a huge achievement for me.
The feeling of being the first at anything is different. Many wish of doing something first to cherish that for life and at the time, I had a wish for doing something first for Bangladesh. I dreamt about being the highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh even though I could not reach that level.
I feel great pride when I remember that hattrick. You need both the skill and the luck to pick up a hattrick.
My achievement would have been even more fulfilling if we won the match. Unfortunately, we lost the match. Brendan Taylor batted brilliantly to beat us.
I watch the video of the hattrick regularly online. The hattrick was the best performance of my career. My second best was my spell at Lord's against England.