Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Fantastic Five

The Bangladesh players enjoyed a break yesterday after their stunning 5-wicket win over world champions India on Friday evening that opened up the Asia Cup. After Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim’s exploits were documented immediately after the game, The Daily Star Sport’s Bishwajit Roy and Mohammad Isam spoke to the five architects who helped the pair to a united effort.
The pace spearhead believed that the Friday win was much different than the previous ones. “We squandered a good chance against Pakistan in the opening match but we didn’t make the same mistake against India which is, I think, unique for Bangladesh cricket. It’s really fantastic that we played good cricket in two consecutive matches,” he said excitedly. He, along with Abdur Razzak, was also praised by the captain for their impressive bowling on a flat track.
“I’m really delighted to see that everybody is hungry for success. Now the big challenge is to play the last league match against Sri Lanka with same manner. I’m not interested to talk about the chances to play in the final. I believe we should play the tough brand of cricket that we’ve done in the last two games,” he said.
“That would be a big achievement.”
After Nazimuddin’s dismissal, Tamim told Jahurul Islam not to hurry. “When I had scored the 151 [against Zimbabwe], I remember we didn’t force ourselves into the chase. I told him the same that let’s keep batting, we’ll see what happens later,” he said.
“We had talked about it in a team meeting that when we need 6 or 7 an over, we should score at around five per over so that we are still close to the target.
“But I can’t express in words how Shakib, Mushfiqur and Nasir batted. I can’t really explain,” added Tamim, who struck his second half-century in as many games.
So what was Tamim doing in the dressing-room when the skipper and Nasir were winding down the chase? Apparently, Mashrafe was jumping, Tamim was shouting while Shakib was playing the drums somewhere. Word in the dressing room has it that Riyad was so much into urging the two batsmen, he hardly needed warming up when he walked out to the middle.
The right-hander considered himself the luckiest batsman as his maiden half-century played a big role behind Tigers’ success against India. “It’s fantastic to see a batsman like Sachin Tendulkar make his hundredth century but I was the happiest man as my maiden half-century didn’t go in vain. It’s really a memorable day in my career,” said the soft-spoken man with a smile.
“I had a talk with Tamim and we never thought of the target, rather our main focus was to prolong the innings because we had a belief that it would not be impossible to score 100 runs from the last ten overs if we have enough wickets. We didn’t want to lose too many wickets and tried not to make the same mistakes what we did against Pakistan,” he explained.
“This team is playing as a unit which is fantastic. The celebration was over once we left the stadium. Now we are looking forward to our next game because we have to prove that we are consistence in our performance,” said Jahurul.
If there is one spinner in the world who is actually enjoying the two new balls, it is this man. For two successive matches, the senior left-arm spinner has used “his” new ball in a way that has negated the slow bowlers’ trouble on the unresponsive Mirpur pitches. “I have often bowled with the new or newer ball so it has become a good habit. If the ball has some shine on one side, it helps me,” said Razzak.
“Some bowlers are not happy when they can’t pick up wickets. I have always been happy contributing with my control, be it with just a wicket or two,” he added.
When he lazily got caught at the crease by Umar Gul in the tournament opener, little did anyone think Nasir would earn a promotion in the batting order. But coach Stuart Law put the street-smart cricket at No 4 so that he could capitalise on the Tigers’ strong start. “We needed around 7-8 runs an over so the idea was to take as many singles as possible. With Shakib bhai going after their bowling, I just wanted to take on their pacers, but not Ashwin,” he said.
When it was getting down to the wire, Nasir had only one thought: “I dearly wanted to hit the winning runs. But I couldn’t, put one up in the air!”


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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