Shakib Al Hasan has been in sensational form in the World Cup and that is why it is very natural that all the focus was centered on the ace all-rounder ahead of the today’s crucial match against Australia at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
However, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza reminded that there were also some other players like Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman and Soumya Sarkar, who played their part in making sure the Tigers would take on the defending champions with great confidence. And while the inspirational Tigers skipper will definitely look for another phenomenal showing from his champion all-rounder, he will also desperately be looking for the Tigers to fire on all cylinders to keep their semifinal hopes alive.
Mashrafe exuded confidence during a half-hour press meet after his side got a huge psychological boost by winning their last game against the West Indies in style. Mashrafe also informed that the dressing room was full of belief about winning today’s match and that they were not thinking of anything other than a victory.
“I know a few players are in our dressing room who believe we can beat anybody. But against Australia, it won’t be easy, for sure, especially given the conditions and the form they are in. It won’t be easy. But, as I said, these boys believe, and especially if you have a good start, you never know. So, let’s see. We’ll fight and you never know. I think if we take that confidence into the ground and deliver our best and we can assess the wicket very well… ,” said Mashrafe.
“I think the Australian bowling attack has a lot of variation. They have Pat Cummins, who can bowl with a change of pace and also very quick. They have some options. I think they have some good wrist spinners. Nathan Lyon and Zampa are there. But the confidence is the main thing, which bowlers have at the moment,” he added when asked to compare the West Indies attack to Australia’s.
Bangladesh started their campaign with an impressive win against South Africa and then the lost to New Zealand and England before rain spoiled their match against Sri Lanka and put them to a spot of bother. But a magical Shakib revived hopes as his all-round performance against the West Indies provided them new hope. Mashrafe, however, insisted his charges were not over-reliant on one man.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a one-man army. Shakib is scoring runs; that’s a great thing for the team. But if you look at it, the other boys have stepped up. Mustafizur Rahman got some wickets, Mohammad Saifuddin came in and took the early wicket of Chris Gayle -- we all know what he can do. So, it has not been a one-man army, but Shakib has been doing outstandingly. Some other bowlers have to step up a little bit with what Shakib is doing.
“We really appreciate what Shakib is doing, and some of the other bowlers with what they’ve done, and we hope it will be carried on from here. It will be great to see,” he opined. “But we need to provide support like Liton did in the last match.”
Looking at South Africa’s collapse against the New Zealand yesterday, Mashrafe realized that it is the Tigers who have to pave their way to the semifinal all by themselves. So, must they perform their best.