An amazing partnership from Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad saw Bangladesh clinch victory from a very difficult position at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
Shakib and Mahmudullah delivered after that opening burst from the Kiwi pace bowlers. Shakib scored an imperious 114 and Mahmudullah struck a magnificent 102 not out as Bangladesh eclipsed the Black Caps' 265, which nobody believed could be possible after that early mayhem.
The spectacular duo spoke to the press at the stadium after Bangladesh’s epic victory against New Zealand.
Shakib Al Hasan:
Where would you rate this innings in the context of your career?
Whenever I play well and receive a man of the match award I think that this is my best innings. But obviously it feels good to contribute to the team and also on a personal level it's a big achievement to score a hundred in an ICC tournament. I think overall its a big achievement for the whole team and you know its a big step up. This win will give us a lot of confidence to get the belief that we can win matches from any situation in future, so this will be a big example going forward.
Are you thinking about the semifinal?
Actually it's not in our hands as it will all depend on the game between Australia and England. Obviously everyone will support England but there is no point supporting unless Australia loses; if it happens then it will be a huge achievement for us. I think even if we are not able to qualify this tournament will remain a big achievement.
What were you thinking when you went out to bat?
Nothing, all I was thinking about was to bat as long as I can and there were lots of overs and we never had the opportunity to bat for such length of time during the recent past. So, my plan was to bat as long as I can and when Riyad bhai joined me at the crease he batted really well which released the pressure off me. The way he batted was brilliant. When we had a partnership over hundred runs and saw there were still have 20-22 overs remaining and 140 odd runs needed then we started to believe that its possible to chase down the target. We play a lot of T20 matches so we know the asking rate of seven runs per over is not difficult but it was important for us to bat till the 45th over, which we eventually did.
Enjoy batting with Riyad?
We have been playing for a long time and also I have had a few good partnerships with Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiq and also with Riyad bhai. As we have been playing for long time so the understanding is there and we know what we want to do so obviously that helps.
Century was my personal achievement but it was important for me to win the match for my team and Tamim always says that I was never able to finish a game so I today I was determined to finish. But unfortunately it didn’t happen in the end, may be it will happen in some other match.
But obviously it feels good to finish the game in any situation but I think that ball was there to hit but I was also thinking that if I hit too many then Riyad bhai will not be able to score his hundred so I also tried to play for singles but if I was in a mood to hit that for a boundary may be it would have been different.
I don't have any regrets as it won’t go to the grave.
When I went out my intention was to remain positive and play my shots as the ball was moving quite a lot in the first ten overs so it was very tough initially. Two of their best bowlers Southee and Boult were bowling brilliantly but when I went into bat there wasn’t as much swing so my plan was to go after the ball if it was on my zone.
Were you thinking of winning the game during that initial period?
Honestly, we were not thinking about winning at that time as we concentrated on our batting and waited to see where it takes us. Gradually as we got closer I told Shakib that now we have the opportunity so we can’t let it slip. It was around 130-140 runs when we started to realise that we can reach the target but before that we were playing our natural game and batted positively.
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How does the team feel?
Obviously it feels great and everyone got a boost after we came back from a critical position after the initial 33/4 and I think our bowlers did a good job. Masharfe bowled well Mosaddek picked up three vital wickets while Rubel and Taskin upfront all bowled brilliantly and pulled back pretty well, otherwise the total would have been more.
I don’t have a say on my batting order.
Among the three which one is your special century?
I think all the three hundreds are very special to me as each of the innings were as important.
How did you feel batting with Shakib?
It always feels good batting alongside Shakib as he does not speak much at the crease and just says that we are going well and that’s it.
Cardiff memory in the back of the mind?
When we started playing today we did not think about the last time we played here but yes we do have a good memory from Cardiff which was a historic win and today’s win is also one of the biggest win and I think Cardiff is special for Bangladesh cricket.
I think I was more excited than Shakib when he reached the century as I wanted him to score the century.