An infamous failure; now a famous chase – Mushfiqur Rahim centre-stage in both.
Few defeats in Bangladesh’s history stung like the 2016 World T20 loss to India, when with two runs needed from three balls and Mushfiqur on strike, Bangladesh proceeded to lose three wickets and eventually crash out of the tournament.
Mushfiqur was the man who was largely blamed for that capitulation. Having just struck a four off Hardik Pandya, he had got in the bowlers’ face and gesticulated in an exaggerated celebration instead of buckling down to get the two further runs. In contrast, he had played the innings of his life – and perhaps the best ever for Bangladeshi in a T20 – to propel his team to a target of 215. It is the fourth-highest successful chase in the format, and it came at a venue that favours bowlers more than most. Having watched Mushfiqur’s unbeaten 72 off 35 balls from the dressing room, opener Tamim Iqbal felt his team-mate had made amends for Bangalore.
“The guy who made the mistake in Bangalore, he didn’t do it today,” Tamim said. “I always feel that there’s a lot to learn from a good game or a bad game. The amount of criticism Mushfiqur copped on that day, I think he should be praised the same amount now. He handled it very well today.
“He didn’t have time to think. He had to go from ball one. He kept on batting, and finished the job. I think it is probably his best T20 innings.”
So exhilarating was the chase, and so unexpected the result after Sri Lanka had piled on 214 for 6, that it may now only be natural for confidence to now spread in what had been a misfiring Bangladesh side. Tamim certainly hoped that would be the case. Following Thursday’s defeat against India, their captain Mahmudullah had spoken about batting “fearlessly”. Throughout the pursuit, Bangladesh’s batsmen took intelligent attacking options, and put bowlers defending a mammoth total under sustained pressure.
“We might not have big power hitters but we can plan and play a Bangladeshi brand of T20 cricket,” Tamim said.
“We can’t follow England or West Indies because we have different kind of players. We don’t have someone like MS Dhoni to come at No 7. We don’t have a Chris Gayle to take on the bowlers from the first ball. I think we have smart cricketers, who are different. It is not about hitting sixes and fours all the time. In the middle overs we saw that by taking a lot of singles. Boundaries will come.
“This will definitely give us a lot of confidence. It is one of our best wins but I am a big believer in the fact that we haven’t conquered everything by just one win. It has given us confidence of chasing 215 runs. It is not the end, but just the start. We really needed this as a team.”