'Now 4-0 is very possible' - Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh stand-in captain, has said his team will look to improve its performance as it aims for a clean sweep in the ongoing one-day series against New Zealand. Bangladesh beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the third ODI on Monday, giving them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series - the first time they have won two consecutive ODIs against top-flight opposition.
They beat New Zealand by 9 runs (D/L method) in the first ODI on October 5 while the second ODI was abandoned due to rain.
"Now the 4-0 [result] is very possible," Shakib said. "We played good cricket in the last two games but we want to improve our performance in the next two because there are lots of areas to improve.
"We are capable of playing much better cricket and what I believe is that we are yet to play our best cricket in the series. Things will fall into place if we can improve our performance."
Bangladesh bowled out New Zealand for 173 in Monday's ODI and the opening stand of 127 between Imrul Kayes and Shahriar Nafees set the foundation for their seven-wicket victory. But Shakib said a ten-wicket victory would have been more convincing.
"A ten-wicket victory was very much on the cards after the way the two openers started," he said. "It was a good knock from Nafees; he punished every bad ball and was positive. I don't know what played on his mind but he could have easily made a hundred.
"As usual Kayes started cautiously and settled in nicely but frustratingly he too could not finish the game. We must focus on this area and make sure we do not make same mistakes in the next games."
Shakib praised his spinners, who came into the game after just eight overs from the fast bowlers. They ran through the New Zealand line-up, picking up eight wickets between them, but the star performer was Suhrawadi Shuvo, who grabbed three including the dangerous Jesse Ryder and Daniel Vettori. Ross Taylor was the only New Zealand batsman to offer some resistance, with an unbeaten 72-ball 62. But Shakib was disappointed with Bangladesh's efforts in the batting Power Play where Taylor and Kyle Mills smashed 55 runs.
"The spinners, especially Shuvo, did a good job after Shafiul [Islam] removed Brendon McCullum, but we didn't bowl well in the Power Play. Our fielding was good but not extraordinary, so we have to look at these areas."
While the Bangladesh spinners and openers set up the victory in the third ODI, it was Shakib's allround show that led them to victory in the first game. "You see so many players who performed in the match which is the main strength of this team. We play as a team and as a unit."
The fourth ODI will be played in Dhaka on Thursday.