Cardiff: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza believes his side can face the future with renewed confidence even if they are denied a semi-final place at the Champions Trophy.
The Tigers gave themselves a shot at a last four spot with a stunning five-wicket win over New Zealand in Cardiff on Friday. Bangladesh collapsed to 12 for three and were facing a humiliating loss at 33 for four in the 12th over.
But Shakib Al Hasan (114) and Mahmudullah (102 not out) responded to the pressure of a dire position in a must- win game with a brilliant new Bangladesh record partnership of 224 that turned the match upside down and eventually saw New Zealand eliminated.
Bangladesh still need already-qualified England to beat Australia in the final Group A match at Edgbaston on Saturday, or for the fixture to be a washed out no result, to go through to the last four of an event featuring the world’s top eight one-day international teams.
“That will be nice (if England win), but we can’t just expect Australia to lose that game,” Mortaza told reporters.
“I would like to say the best of luck to both teams, because whatever we could do we did.
“That is most important for us.”
The paceman added: “Obviously, I would like to go to the semis and if we do we will hopefully play better cricket than in the last three matches. We have to wait now, but in the last three years we keep improving a lot.
“This sort of performance really help us to move forward, especially with the 2019 World Cup (in England) coming up. It will really boost the team.”
– ‘Simply superb’ –
Bangladesh, making their first appearance at the Champions Trophy in 11 years, saw star batsman Tamim Iqbal out for a second-ball duck as they chased a seemingly modest target of 266.
“We thought 266 was gettable, but after 33 for four it becomes very hard,” Mortaza said.
“Once the partnership got to a hundred I knew those two could make a difference.
“They’ve done it a lot of other times, but it was phenomenal to get a 200 partnership.
“We know Tamim cannot get a score every time, but we have got some excellent players who can win games,” he added, after Bangladesh enjoyed another memorable win in Cardiff to follow their colossal upset ODI victory over Australia in the Welsh capital back in 2005.
New Zealand were on course to set a challenging total at 152 for two in the 30th over. But when captain Kane Williamson (57) and Ross Taylor (63) fell in quick succession after putting on 83, the Blackcaps suffered an all-too familar collapse.
“With the position we were in, closer to 300 would have been a much better total,” said Williamson.
“But after the start we had with the ball we though 265 was going to be enough.
“But to get a 200-plus partnership under that pressure was simply superb from Bangladesh.”
Just two years ago, at the last International Cricket Council 50-over competition, New Zealand reached the final of the 2015 World Cup. But this tournament saw them leave without a win, having lost to both England and Bangladesh in Cardiff after their match against Australia was washed out.
“You want to come here firing and playing the best cricket,” Williamson said.
“We showed some signs of that against Australia, but we certainly haven’t seen that in our last two games in Cardiff.
“We’ve got to use this experience to be better as a unit and as individuals, because you are going to be put under pressure in these tournaments.”