Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza lavished praise on his fast-bowler Mustafizur Rahman after his magical final over which helped the Tigers to thrash Afghanistan in the Asia Cup 2018 Super Four thriller on Sunday (September 23) in Abu Dhabi.
At the start of the game, Rahman seemed quite uncomfortable with the ball due to cramps, but the 23-year-old pulled things out at the right time. He delivered a fantastic final over, befuddled the Afghanistan batsmen with his full range of variations to defend eight runs in the final over to win the last-ball thriller for Bangladesh by 3 runs at Abu Dhabi.
As per reports in ICC’s official website, Mortaza told reporters in the post-match conference, “At the end of the game, Mustafizur was like a magician. It was difficult to defend eight runs, credit goes to Mustafizur. He was cramping a bit in the middle. We wanted him to bowl 10 overs but he couldn't. It is hot and [it's] a tough job.”
He also lauded Mahmudullah (74) and Imrul Kayes (72*), who were included into the squad as injury replacements, as they put on a 128-run partnership for the sixth wicket to take their side to 249/7.
Their brilliant effort in the middle-order led them to a crucial victory in the Asia Cup 2018 match against Afghanistan. Mortaza further added, “It was Mahmudullah and Kayes, playing his first game... they set it up for us with the bat.”
Meanwhile, Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan has expressed his disappointment over his team's second defeat by a narrow margin. He credited Mustafizur for keeping his cool in the final over to help Bangladesh win the contest.
It was for the second time when Afghanistan lost the match despite dragging the match extremely close, they had lost to Pakistan by three wickets and now Bangladesh by three runs.
Afghan told reporters, “We required eight off six and it was not difficult especially when (Gulbadin) Naib, one of the main batsman in the death overs was batting. Mustafizur bowled very well, I will give credit to him. He is a good variation bowler, (but) we should have chased this total down.”
He signed off, “It was going according to our plan. In the last overs, we had wickets in the hand. Maybe we should have taken singles or doubles in the last over. 250 wasn't a lot on a wicket like that because it was good for batting. When you play against full-member teams, they don't allow you a lot of mistakes.”