Tigers’ depth makes Mushfiq happyAzad Majumder . Belfast
If there were anything for Bangladesh to achieve from the just ended series against Ireland, it was the ranking, something that did not come their way as they played fewer matches than it required.
After a 3-0 win it came almost as an embarrassment as Bangladesh ended up in fourth position, something which even left Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim bewildered.
‘I don’t really have a good idea on how the points are counted,’ Mushfiq said. ‘There have been a lot of talks on ranking before we came into this tour. We never had expected to be in the sixth or fourth place. The only thing we knew was that we would be in a good position if we win all the five matches.
‘For me the most important thing is to play consistently well. We won the last two matches in Zimbabwe and here we have won three matches. It means we have now won five consecutive matches and now our aim will be to win the matches in the Netherlands,’ he said.
With half the job done, looking back at the Ireland series, Mushfiq was taking comfort from the fact that the current Bangladesh squad has more depth than any other time in the recent past.
Ireland tested Bangladesh with whatever little resources they had in the last two matches and according to Mushfiq, they could overcome the challenge only because of the team’s strength in depth.
When a score of around 120 runs seemed difficult in the second match, Nasir Hossain responded with his maiden fifty and in the third match it came down to veteran Mashrafee bin Murtaza to provide the X-factor.
The inclusion of Ziaur Rahman was another plus point as he has given the side a perfect balance, said skipper Mushfiq.
‘We have three world-class spinners which normally you will not see in any other side. Also we have Riyad bhai [Mahmudullah], which gave me an added option and I can use them in the powerplay – middle and final few overs,’ said Mushfiq.
‘And if you consider batting, we need to send someone like Mashrafee bhai at number eight. Today you all have seen how good he can be. Now we have got Zia at number seven and it gave us a nice balance,’ said Mushfiq.
The skipper was full of praise for Mashrafee for his match winning contribution in the third and final match. Mashrafee came on surprisingly as the fifth change bowler and claimed his career best 4-19 before his 30 off 13 balls sealed the contest.
‘Ireland tend to charge during the powerplay and that is where he was struggling. So I thought if I rotate the other bowlers and bring him in after a certain period it may bring a good result. You all have seen how he came back and this is what makes a champion player,’ said Mushfiq.
‘When he got four wickets, I thought maybe he could do something good with the bat as it looked like his day. It was a good comeback for him and something our team needed badly,’ added Mushfiq.
Mashrafee had no grudge for using him as late as he has accepted the logic behind it. The former skipper, however, said he was not told about the plan before the game and only realised it during the match.
‘I was only told that bowlers may be rotated. I had no issue with it and neither was it a problem for me. Twenty20 is a very short game, so whenever you get the ball you will see some shine. So I was prepared to take the ball at any stage of the match,’ Mashrafee said.
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