Having seen his team recover from a hopeless looking situation at the start to scoring a substantial 261 and then eventually winning the opening game of the Asia Cup by 137 runs against Sri Lanka, a relieved and satisfied Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladeshi Captain, said that he is pleased, his side didn't melt down under pressure and came back very well in the match.
Bangladesh lost their top order very early against a fit and firing Lasith Malinga and then had to go through the pain of watching Tamim Iqbal walk away from the tournament after being hit on his wrist. This is when Mushfiqur Rahim got support from Mohammad Mithun and they both stitched together a partnership of 133 runs, with the latter getting caught having scored 63 invaluable runs.
But, Rahim played one of his best knocks ever. It was a very high quality 144 and he batted till the very end to ensure Bangladesh reaches 261.
"I should thank Mushfiqur and Mithun, they batted well under pressure. Losing two wickets early is always pressure, also Tamim couldn't bat so it was nice to see how they batted," said Mortaza at the end of the match on Saturday, September 15.
He further added, "The way our seniors are performing set up the team really well. Now, the juniors should step up. Hopefully they will come back strongly. There are lots of things we can improve. We could have scored 280, 290 easily. We have to improve our bowling and fielding obviously. You have to be prepared for the conditions."
Even though Bangladesh has huge areas of improvement in their game, they still won the match by a huge margin over Sri Lanka, who looked clueless chasing under lights in Dubai.
Talking about his team's "bad effort", Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Matthews was quoted saying, "It was a bad effort by the whole team, after having them three down for three runs. We dropped too many catches, Mushfiqur (Rahim) batted really well. I had to use Lasith (Malinga) to try and get a wicket in the middle part of the innings,"
"260 was a chaseable total; it’s unfortunate that the batters didn't deliver today. We lost too many wickets too early." he added.
No cricket match against Bangladesh is over till Mushfiqur Rahim is there.
The man, having reiterated it and receiving a deserving man of the match award, said, "Thanks to Almighty that he gave me the strength. This was the first game so we knew we had to win to qualify for the next round. Credit goes to Mithun, he took the pressure off me,"
Mushfiqur added, "I thought I was in great knick, I was determined to score runs for my team. The wicket was good, it was easy to hit boundaries with five fielders inside the ring till the 40th over."
“Thankfully, it paid off. Probably the best I have batted for Bangladesh. Hopefully, many more to come,” he concluded.
(Inputs from Cricket Next)