Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup final, Mirpur March 21, 2012

Making the final no upset - Mushfiqur


The morning after what Mushfiqur Rahim described as "the most incredible day in our cricketing history", Bangladesh were grappling with the prospect of an even more incredible day. Ahead of Thursday, there's only one topic of discussion in Dhaka: how to get tickets to the Asia Cup final. The Shere Bangla stadium seats about 25,000 but judging by the frenzy for tickets and passes, the stadium would have been full even if its capacity was increased multi-fold.

Instead of being weighed down by the pressure of playing the biggest game of their lives, Bangladesh were buoyant after a week of stirring performances. "The way we have played all through the tournament shows that as a team we have improved in the last three weeks," Mushfiqur said. "Not only in performance but we have also overcome mental barriers, like winning two close matches. If you win matches like that the confidence of the whole team lifts. Also, it helps self-belief when you perform well consistently against top teams. The most important challenge for us was to perform well in every match."

The other source of motivation for Bangladesh was their constant improvement in every game. "If you noticed, we lost a very close match to Pakistan, then the next match [against India] we played better and played even better in the last match [against Sri Lanka]," he said. "This was our aim because if you play consistently well against the big teams then you will be able to win matches regularly."

Mushfiqur tipped Pakistan as favourites and called for another collective effort from his team-mates to topple them. "The secret of the success in this tournament so far is simple - not just one or two [players] are performing, which used to happen in the past," he said. "In this tournament, Tamim [Iqbal], [Mahmudullah] Riyad, Shakib [Al Hasan], Nasir [Hossain] in the batting department have been playing well together. In the bowling department Raj bhai [Abdur Razzak], Mashrafe bhai [Mortaza], Nazmul bhai [Hossain] in the one match he played, Shakib, everyone is performing. So if we can keep that up tomorrow, we are hoping we will win."

Mushfiqur picked the Pakistan openers, who have put on two big stands already in the Asia Cup, and offspinner Saeed Ajmal as big threats to Bangladesh. "Pakistan's bowling attack is obviously very strong, and at the same time their top order is very strong with the likes of [Mohammad] Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed," he said. "So if we can take some early wickets we can put them under pressure. And against their bowling we have to handle Saeed Ajmal well - which we did in the first match although he took two wickets at the end - and hopefully Umar Gul, then we can do well."

Though this is only Bangladesh's second appearance in a tournament final, Mushfiqur said the team wouldn't be fazed by the occasion. "The pressure is always there," he said. "After winning the second match and before the match against Sri Lanka people were saying that 'You must win against Sri Lanka'. As if after beating India, Sri Lanka were a team like Kenya or Scotland, that we would win in a canter. But as I said the way we are playing, with five or six of us performing well together, even if one or two fail you have the confidence."

While the word 'upset' featured heavily in newspaper headlines over the past week, Mushfiqur was keen to point out that qualifying hadn't been a fluke. "When you reach the finals of a tournament with three top teams, and you win twice and play pretty consistently, I don't think it's an upset," he said. "It was a well-planned and well-executed progress." That progress has already given their supporters two reasons to celebrate; all they want is one more.

Edited by Abhishek Purohit

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tariq on March 22, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    the batting side waiting for UMAR GUL.

  • tariq on March 22, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    misbah please no give bowling to umer gul otherwise u will lose the match.Umer gul fix the match like the world cup semi final pak vs india 2011, for a proof watch the semi final highlights when Umar akmal was playing well and we had a chance to win and he looked very upset.

  • tariq on March 22, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    I hope umer gul will not repeat the samething like semifinal wc 2011 pak vs india

  • PRASHANT on March 22, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    its not BD played well..actually its both Indians n Srilankans played casual cricket against a weak nation..sometimes it happens..still i feel Ireland is a better team dan BD...after all cricket is a funny game...

  • Shuvo on March 22, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Very poor showing of captaincy from Mushfiq on that last over, PERIOD.

  • Shamim on March 22, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Just when things were looking good for Bangladesh till the Captain makes a monumental blunder by picking Shahadat for the last over. And Shahadat gives away 19 runs. Bangladesh seems unable to seal the deal when things are looking good. At this time they really to play smart and wrong choices will not get them to the promised land.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    Bangladesh has played well yes . But some of the comments here are frankly looking like bangla fans are boasting . Beating a weak Indian Team and a tired Srilankan Team is nothing . Will really see their improvement when South africa or australia get there .

  • udaya on March 22, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    Dear all Bangla fans, loving our team does not mean dis respecting great cricketers of other nations. By doing so our country looses respect. I am pained by the arrogant nature of my own countrymen.

  • Gautam on March 22, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    CHILL Guys after reading most of the comments i figured that rather than commenting on cricketing skills people are taking about regards for the other country.Dont disrespect teh other country. BD is playing some fearless cricket at teh mement and hope the can repeat teh same in teh Finals too. Cricket needs BD for extending its fan base and making asian cricket strong. Hope this ASIA CUP can do for BD in teh same was as the world cup DONE FOR SRI LANKA. And as far as India and BD is concerned both are bery good friends and let them remain that way only................. Com'on BD this Asia CUP is yours and hope many more come in future also............

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    well played BD cricket team..go and achieve that extra mile -Indian cricket team fan..

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