Abu Dhabi: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza says his injury-struck side will have to improve considerably in all departments to challenge India in the Asia Cup final here Friday. Bangladesh stunned Pakistan by 37 runs in the last Super Four match on Wednesday night to set up a summit clash with defending champions India.
“We always know that India are a serious side and the number one side the world. We still need to improve a bit of our batting and bowling,” Mortaza said after the match.
“We will be missing Shakib (Al Hasan) and Tamim (Iqbal) but the boys have showed character and one match to go, and hopefully the boys will play hard,” he added.
Shakib flew back to Bangladesh after aggravating a finger injury, while Tamim was ruled out of the Asia Cup after fracturing his hand in the opening match. Praising his team for the crucial win, Mortaza said: “The bowlers did a good job, especially when we didn’t get the runs. I think we changed our combination a bit. Usually I open the bowling, but today we started with (Mehidy Hasan) Miraz.
“Mushi (Mushfiqur Rahim) and (Mohammad) Mithun batted really well.”
Mortaza’s blinder of a catch at mid-wicket to dismiss Shoaib Malik off Rubel Hossain’s bowling in the 21st over was one of the turning points of the match.
“I was lucky that I didn’t drop my catch, because Shoaib Malik was in such good form, but all over the fielding was really good,” Mortaza said.
“Long time we haven’t seen this quality of fielding in our time, so hopefully the boys can understand the value of good fielding.”
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed took the blame for his side’s loss after they ended with a score of 202 for 9 while chasing 240 to win.
“Not feeling good, the performance wasn’t good. As a captain, I didn’t do well. So I think as a team and as a captain, I didn’t lead well,” Sarfraz said.
“We didn’t field well, our batting collapsed and as a team we didn’t do well in any department.
“Fakhar was our main player, Shadab and Nawaz had opportunities, but we need to play well if we need to win against good teams. Our batting collapse hurt us. Shaheen is our plus point.”
Pakistan were reduced to 18 for three in 3.3 overs. Though Imam-ul-Haq (83) kept them in the hunt, stitching two crucial partnerships with Malik (30) and Asif Ali (31), it was Bangladesh who had the last laugh. Earlier, Bangladesh rode on a fighting 99 by Mushfiqur and Mithun’s 60 to recover from 12-3 in 4.2 overs and post 239 all out in 48.5 overs.
“It was important I kept belief in myself,” said Mushfiqur, who was adjudged Man of the Match.
“And Mithun batted brilliantly too. I told him that we need to dig in after the early wickets. Credit goes to the way I practice and my preparation. That gives me confidence. I’m taking the right decisions more often.”