Bangladesh Cricket: Another chance like the 2015 World Cup, says Mashrafe Mortaza | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:41 PM, June 07, 2017

'Another chance like the 2015 World Cup'

When Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was sitting beside Steven Smith, he looked the more disappointed of the two captains before the post-match presentation, which normally takes place at the ground but was shifted to the press conference room due to the rain.

Apparently he was trying to hide how happy he was to escape with a point from an abandoned game in which they were saved by four overs.

After the presentation, which was very brief, when he attended the press briefing Mashrafe said that he was very happy with a point that they did not deserve.

“You never know. If I remember correctly, in the 2015 World Cup we got one point from Australia and it helped us go through [to the quarterfinal]. This time we have got another chance. We will have to play very hard against New Zealand and if we can win -- you never know,” said the Bangladesh captain with an air of satisfaction.

He admitted that they were extremely lucky.

“In today's [Monday's] game Australia were far ahead of us. They were in a similar situation as us when they were playing against New Zealand. So, this is something you can't control. Both teams are now in a similar situation. They will have to beat England to go through and if we can win against New Zealand we have a great chance,” he said, adding that he was not sure what would happen when the umpires called for drinks after 16 overs.

“When 16 overs were completed it was raining and I was thinking whether there will be one or two more overs. They [umpires] called the drinks break and we did not know whether they called off the game due to rain when we were all heading to the dressing room. We were only aware that rain will come at around 7:00 to 7.30pm,” said the Bangladesh captain while reflecting on those uncertain moments.

He said Australia were only four overs away 'and they could have won even if they did not score a single run in those four overs'.

When asked if it was part of the plan to use pace bowlers for 15 out of those 16 overs, he smiled and said: “Our effort was to take the game as long as possible. We introduced [Mehedi Hasan] Miraz for just one over. When pacers operate they normally take more time to complete an over. And it's fair.”

Mashrafe bowled six of those 15 overs while Mustafizur Rahman had five and Rubel Hossain four. 

He also defended the decision to bat first after winning the toss,

“If they had won the toss they would have batted first. It was a good wicket and we wanted to post a good total. It was not a 300-330 wicket. A total of 270 would have been a good total on this wicket and we were heading in the right direction before Shakib got out. He was batting well with Tamim and had they been together we could have scored 260,” said Mashrafe.

He said Tamim has been amazing with the bat.

“The way Tamim batted against the two best teams, it showed they type of form he is in. Not only that, if you look at his last eight innings he has been scoring heavily. He scored a hundred against Pakistan in the practice game; he hit a century against Sri Lanka. He has been batting like one of the best batsman in the best of form,” added the Bangladesh captain.

He said that Australia's pace bowlers bowled really well and the extra pace was uncomfortable for most of his batsmen. He also defended the decision in the shuffle of the batting line-up with Sabbir playing deep in the lower-order from a crucial number three position, saying that the team management decided to accommodate Imrul Kayes top in the order.

“Sabbir played the last eight innings at number three. But we thought it would be good for the team if he bats down the order when we were in need of quick runs. Imrul has a good average batting at that [number three] position,” Mashrafe explained.

He also said that he was not surprised to see a lot of Bangladesh fans turning up to the ground to cheer them

“In England we expect a lot of Bangladesh supporters to follow us. There was a lot of support when we played here against England. Today was no exception; we are expecting many of them when we play New Zealand in Cardiff.”

Bangladesh's last and most important group stage game in Cardiff will take place on June 9.

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