Bangladesh may have finally broken the Afghanistan jinx, registering their first win in T20Is after four consecutive defeats, but the Tigers had to work hard for that and rely on skipper Shakib Al Hasan’s individual heroics.
The experienced left-hander struck a match-winning, unbeaten fifty in the final league match of the tri-nation T20I series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram yesterday.
Despite a flying start that saw Afghanistan openers Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz add 75 runs in nine overs, the visitors went on to post a modest 138 for 7.
However, things could have been different had they managed another 15-20 runs and even the Tigers’ team management would realise that it was not a convincing win. Although there remain a lot of areas to improve upon with both bat and all, yesterday’s win will surely give the Tigers a much-needed boost ahead of the final on Tuesday.
Mosaddek Hossain, who made a crucial 12-ball 19 and remained not out, said that regardless of the manner of victory, the result would help the Tigers gain momentum ahead of the final.
“A win before the final will definitely build confidence for any team and it was a much-needed win for us. I think that when we lose a ground, it’s not like we fall to the floor. So after this win, it’s not like we are flying high. I think it would be better for us to continue playing the way we are at the moment. Yes, we lost to them in the past, but as I said, we have to play calculated cricket,” Mosaddek told reporters yesterday.
Bangladesh had lost wickets at regular intervals at one point and required 27 runs from the final three overs with four wickets in hand. Mosaddek started the 18th over with a boundary before Shakib struck a six and four. That over, from a limping Rashid Khan, yielded 18 runs and changed the course of the game.
“He even picked up a wicket with the second ball [of the 16th over] despite being injured so you can’t say whether he could have done better or not if he wasn’t injured. We had to charge at the end and we were only focusing on that; not thinking of Rashid’s injury,” Mosaddek said.
Rashid has always proved the biggest threat for the Tigers in the past and when asked what they did to overcome any fear of the leg-spinner, Mosaddek responded: “Actually, I never said that we were scared of Rashid Khan and I don’t think there is anything to be scared of.”
However, the 23-year-old added that despite yesterday’s victory it would be a totally new game in the final and he was hopeful that the Tigers would be able to work on past mistakes and start confidently.