Bangladesh v Australia, 2nd ODI, Mirpur April 11, 2011

Watson's knock was one-off, says Nafees

Shahriar Nafees, the Bangladesh batsman, has said his side can take positives out of Monday's match at the Shere Bangla Stadium, despite their crushing loss to Australia. He said Shane Watson's storming knock of 185 off 96 balls, during which he broke the record for the most number of sixes in a one-day innings with 15, was a "once-in-a-lifetime" performance, and Bangladesh's score would have been competitive had they not caught Watson on "his day."

Rather than wallow in the wreckage left by Watson, Nafees said it was better for his side to think about the lower-order rearguard that lifted them from 88 for 5 to 229-7, a total that at the change of innings appeared reasonably competitive. Nafees had played his role in getting Bangladesh to a decent score; he held firm through a top order collapse and got 56. The score may have been harder to chase had it not been for Watson's belligerence, and Nafees reminded his team-mates of that ahead of the final match of the series on Wednesday.

"I think we made a decent score on this wicket and we are used to defending this type of score," he said. "I think Watson's innings was a rare innings, a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

"Seeing the way he played, I think 300-350 wouldn't have been enough. But it is definitely disappointing for us. Any defeat is demoralising. But I think if you tell Watson to play this sort of an innings tomorrow, he won't be able to do it.

"It was his day and if you have noticed, I think seven of his sixes were mishits. But all credit goes to him, what an outstanding innings. What we can take from this game is that we recovered well with the bat after a bad start. After losing three wickets we had partnerships and that's a positive. Putting up a total that can be defended is always something we talk about in the dressing room.

"It would be best if we don't think about this Watson innings and instead think about continuing our batting positives."

Also absolved from guilt in Nafees' mind is the Bangladesh spin attack, usually far more constricting on a turning surface than they were made to look by Watson.

"In the recent past, our left-arm spin-based bowling attack has been useful. If you leave aside Zimbabwe, when New Zealand were here, this attack did very well."

"In the last game, apart from the last Powerplay, the spinners did a decent job. If someone plays this sort of an innings, any bowling attack would have badly struggled."

The physical contrast between the stout Watson and the lithe Bangladesh players being stark, left Nafees estimating his own six count in a similar situation. "I think he hit 15 sixes because he's stronger than our batsmen," Nafees said. "If I was there in his place, maybe I would have hit 10 boundaries and three sixes. This is the difference."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments