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November 2, 2013
Mashrafe Mortaza has said that Bangladesh are yet to play to their full potential against New Zealand, but a changed mindset and better focus have got them through. The hosts are 2-0 up in the ODI series, with a chance to complete a clean sweep in the third and final game on Sunday.
"I wouldn't say that we won by playing well," Mortaza said. "We were not up to our standard. We made a lot of mistakes, but still we won. I think they [New Zealand] made more mistakes than us. We were up to the mark in our fielding and bowling but we lost early wickets in the first match and in the second game we didn't put together a big partnership.
"There was a lot of dew which makes it difficult to grip the ball but the spinners did a good job. But if you look carefully, we didn't have a combined effort as such. I think our focus got us through. If we failed in one area, we quickly moved on and corrected it with another department. This is due to a changed mentality within the team, which was necessary."
Bangladesh's pace bowling has been one of the areas that has been a refreshing change. Rubel Hossain took six wickets in the first ODI, which included a hat-trick, a performance that swung the match Bangladesh's way. Mortaza got three wickets in the second game, his first spells in both matches being quite effective and keeping New Zealand quiet.
"I think it is a very good sign that the pace bowlers are doing well. Everyone, starting from the coaching staff to the supporters hope that the pace bowlers will support the spinners. But so far, we have won the team matches, turned the game around.
"It gives the pace bowlers a lot of confidence, particularly Rubel who bowled an extraordinary spell in the first match. The spinners too have done well, when you consider the sort of ball they have had to bowl with. It was difficult to grip the ball."
Tamim Iqbal, who has been playing with abdominal pain throughout the ODI series, trained with the team ahead of the third game. He went through some tests in the morning, and remains a doubtful starter.
Mortaza insisted that the team isn't complacent, and is looking to improve certain areas of their make-up. "We are not relaxed and cannot be. Firstly, we haven't become a big international side that we can relax after winning a series. Secondly, we have places to work on. We have something to learn after every game.
"Tomorrow we will repeat our effort of the first two games. We want to have a better performance, because New Zealand will try harder tomorrow."
Mortaza said he would look to keep improving personally, too. "I don't think I should be satisfied [with my bowling]. It is important that I maintain the flow. I am playing international cricket after a long time, so there is some pressure."
The playing surface, he said, was no reason to change plans or play differently. Bangladesh's decision to bat first in the second game in Mirpur was seen as a risky move because their spinners would be affected by dew in the evening, but the team vindicated their decision with victory.
"If we play well, the wicket won't matter. But if the ball turns, it will help us. Otherwise there's no need to talk about toss or the wicket. If we plan and play well, these things will be redundant."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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