You saw him shout in anger and wave in frustration, you witnessed him chest-thump the youngest and, in all likelihood, the strongest player to the ground and you also saw him drag his broken body on to the field to provide the Tigers the best possible start with the new ball; that's just how Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has been throughout the competition; he played with an undying spirit unmatched by any other player on the field.
Captaincy has been an issue for Bangladesh ever since 2014. The Tigers rarely managed to finish games that year and many reckoned that the losing tendency had gotten to Mushfiqur Rahim. After the series of defeats there was barely any aggressive intent from Mushfiqur. While the wicket-keeper batsman batted fluently, his bowling changes and fielding placements were severely criticised.
All that however, changed when Mashrafe took over the helm. Aggressive by nature, Mashrafe rarely took a step back. He always wanted to stay in control of the game; be it by making a bowling change or by adding a slip. It therefore wasn't a surprise to see him scratching his head and wave his hands in frustration against Sri Lanka and India. Those were games that were slipping out of his hands.
While such moves are commonly witnessed amidst the bigger teams in the contest, they were missing in Bangladesh's context for the last one year. As a result, these strategies in a way, helped induce a new brand of cricket—a tad bit more aggressive – amongst the Bangladeshis.
His decision to keep an extra fielder inside almost throughout the game against England ended up working well for the Tigers. Even when England were a few hits away from victory towards the end, he decided to apply the extra pressure with a slip and asked his pacers to bowl full and straight.
Against India's batting line-up his strategy was to stop the singles and as a result he kept six fielders inside the circle even after the powerplay. The plan worked for the first 35 overs as India's batsmen struggled to cut loose.
Yes there were problems with his bowling. He clearly wasn't fit enough in the match against India and he still has problems bowling in the death overs. But prior to that calf injury that he suffered, during the game against England, he was accurate.
At 31, Mashrafe is clearly not the fastest or the most dangerous bowler in the side; neither is he one of the best fielders available. However, the spirit with which he plays the game and the tactics that he employs, command respect and that's definitely what he earned; not just from his own players, but from his opponents in this competition as well.