The first of many
Mushfiqur terms maiden T20 win over India as ‘great moment’ for Tigers & promises to continue good run in remaining series as well
He failed to help Tigers get past the finish line when his team suffered a heartbreaking one-run defeat against India during the 2016 ICC World T20 match on March 23 in Bengaluru. But senior batsman and the most experienced player available in the Bangladesh line-up during first Twenty 20 match at Arun Jaitley stadium on Sunday, Mushfiqur Rahim buried the demons of past and take visitors to maiden win over Men in Blue in the shortest format of the game.
The former skipper’s unbeaten knock off 60 runs which came in 43 balls helped Bangladesh win the first-ever T20 match against India in the ninth attempt.
Speaking after the match during the press conference, wicket-keeper batsman termed historic win as ‘great moment’.
“This is a great moment for Bangladesh cricket because we haven’t won against them (India) in the T20 format. We were missing a couple of key players but the way youngsters stick together and all the bowlers bowled in this track is outstanding. They set the game.”
“And when we were chasing, it was still a defendable score because the wicket wasn’t that easy to bat on, especially with the new ball and also later because of the quality of Indian spin attack but we stick to the plan of taking the game deep and get the result in our favour.”
The senior pro added that “We had nothing to lose coming into this game and also in the series, so that gives us a great cushion and freedom to play our potential and fearless cricket.”
The 32-year old said the strategy while chasing was, one of the top four batsmen had to stay at the crease till 18 or 19th over so that it gets easy to go for big hits in the final over’s and that is what happened in the game also.
Rahim, who came to bat at 4, scored four consecutive boundaries in the 19th over bowled by Khaleel to take his side just a boundary short of the target.
“When I and Shomu (Soumya Sarkar) were batting in the middle, we had a chat that if one of us stay till the 19th over, we can get close to the target because then we will need just one big 16 plus or 20 runs over to take things under control.”
Two years back in almost the similar situation, needing two runs off last three balls, Bangladesh choked, but this time they came prepared to deal with such situation and Mushfiqur said, “As long as you are learning from your mistakes that is the important part. After that incident (World T20 match) I have been closing the games probably on 3-4 occasions in T20I and ODI format, so that gives me a lot of confidence and also a bit of experience of what to do when the similar situation arrives rather than what I did in the past.”
“I had a chat with Riyadh bhai (Mahmudullah) before the start of 20th over, making sure we get some ones and two’s and close in,” he added.
Discussing the impact of the win, the wicketkeeper-batsman said, “We came here to compete in each game. Play consistent cricket and improve each day. After this win, we are now surely looking to win another game or two. And if we can fill the gaps in our death bowling where we give 10-15 extra runs today (on Sunday), nothing is impossible in the next couple of games also. We will try our level best to take the series.”
He was pleased with the pacers’ performance and offer special praise to Afif Hossain for his spell.
“It was a great start by our seamers. They haven’t played much in recent times but all of them chipped in and Afif bowled really well.”
Rahim said the “last two weeks were the most difficult” in his 15-year career, referring to players’ protest followed by Shakib Al Hasan’s two-year suspension by the ICC for breaching anti-corruption code.
“In my 15 years career, the last two weeks were the toughest I face. So before leaving Bangladesh, I told journalists that everything can come on the right track if we win a couple of matches there (in India) and play really well. That’s what we have done and it brings smile and calmness in our team and also the whole nation, so we will try to continue this form,” he concluded.