Mustafizur Rahman is not the most talkative with microphones placed in front of him and cameras trained on him. However, when he performs like he did on Sunday, stopping Afghanistan dead in their tracks by conceding just four when they needed eight to win off the last over of their Asia Cup match, he has to reluctantly make an appearance.
His eventual figures of 44 for two in nine overs -- taking his second wicket by catching Rashid Khan off his own bowling in the last over -- was all the more remarkable because he was suffering with cramps from his second three-over spell and even during that last over.
“The heat there [in Abu Dhabi] is more than the ground in Dubai; not just me but a lot of us were cramping,” said Mustafizur at the team hotel yesterday. “I told bhai [skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza] during my second three-over spell that I was having cramps in my calves. He told me to rest, but that I have to come back at the end. I said that I would do it anyway I could.
“My legs were seizing up if I ran in too hard, so I ran in a way so that that does not happen.”
Mashrafe himself was struggling with the heat -- the dehydration had caused a rash on his thigh and he had to go off the field in the death overs -- so it was all the more important for Mustafizur to continue.
His reticence to make public statements however does at times reveal small truths about his thought process -- namely how he likes to keep things simple. When asked for a blow-by-blow account of the last over, he said: “I needed to bowl normally, so I did. If I thought too much then maybe those eight runs would have been taken in two deliveries. We won because I didn't think too much.”
He did not think experience of bowling in such situations in the various T20 leagues he has participated in was as important as a bit of help from above.
“A lot of experienced bowlers concede 8-10 runs in the last over. It is all up to luck. Unless the target is above 20, there are no guarantees. But if the almighty is with you, it will happen. I tried, had faith in myself.”
It was a special win because Bangladesh had lost many matches, both with bat and ball, from such situations recently.
“Yes, bhai told me,” said Mustafizur, perking up briefly. “At the start of the last over he said that we have lost a lot of games trying to score 8-9 runs in the last over, 'now you win this one for us'.
“That felt good. I said that I will try, if luck is with me it will happen; if not, then it won't.”