Shakib lauds ‘all-round’ show from his troops
Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mehedi Hasan Miraz laid the platform for a huge score before the bowlers turned up with a spirited display to allow Bangladesh place one foot in the Asia Cup's Super Four stage as the Tigers won by 89 runs against Afghanistan on a batting-friendly wicket at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh needed to tick a few boxes in their crucial last group game to overcome the five-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in their campaign opener. Their plans looked awkward in the first game but they passed the Afghan test with flying colours.
Miraz, not a regular opener, was asked to do the job up top and he answered the team management's call. Skipper Shakib Al Hasan said they "played very well all-round".
"He [Miraz] got his chance up the order and proved himself, we always knew he had the ability. We executed our plans really well; the fast bowlers, especially, bowled their hearts out. This wasn't an easy wicket to bowl on," Shakib said at the post-match ceremony following the win.
They needed to revamp their batting plan which crumbled so easily in the last game against Sri Lanka. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were a big threat in that regard but Miraz and Shanto notched 112 not out and 104, respectively, to ensure a score of 334 for five.
The Tigers also needed a big win and the bowlers carried out the plan. Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam bowled with fire early with the latter getting one to tail in to catch Rahmanullah Gurbaz out leg-before for one. Yet, three fifty partnerships had seen Afghanistan threaten to make a game out of it but Taskin and Shoriful snuffed out the chances, bagging four and three wickets each, to bowl Afghans out for 245 in 44.3 overs.
"Actually, the wicket was very good for batting and the margin [of error] was really small for the bowlers. Always tried to mix up the length, slightly fuller or back of a length short ball. Good thing is that if I can bowl well on such a surface, it will boost my confidence," Taskin said.
"The length is the key in any surface. My strength is the length ball with some seam movement. Today the wicket was very flat and only the length ball may not work so I mixed it up."
The net-run rate has climbed to 0.37 and the Tigers would be now looking at the Sri Lanka-Afghanistan game on Tuesday to see if they advance to the Super Four stage.
"Overall, our team performance was very satisfying. Hopefully we will play [the Super Four]," Taskin remarked.