Bangladesh v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Mirpur April 19, 2015

'We are ready to take another step' - Tamim

Tamim Iqbal - "This was as important because had we not played well here, people would have talked again" © AFP

If the 132 in the first ODI was his answer to the doubters, Tamim Iqbal simply lapped up the three hours he took to score an unbeaten 116 in the second. In the process, he helped Bangladesh to their first-ever ODI series win over Pakistan. He called it "equally" as good as any Bangladesh win from the past, but said it was more important having come just after a World Cup where they reached the quarter-finals.

"As a team this was a very important series because we didn't beat them after 1999," Tamim said. "We were close in the last few matches as a team. This is an important series for us after the World Cup performance. I will rate it equally (with other defeats) because if you see their bowling attack, they can match the best in the world.

"They may be a little inexperienced with regards to the batting, but the best thing is that we managed to win. Somehow in the past we often found a way to lose but to win against them is a different feeling. So I will equally rate them all. We just played a good World Cup and if we weren't able to play well here, then there would have been doubts with regards to our performance.

"This was as important because had we not played well here, people would have talked again. But this proves that we are improving and we are ready to take another step. So I am really happy from the aspect of a team."

Tamim felt he was due such a performance, as he managed for only the third time in his ODI career to score more than 200 runs in a series. The last such instance was when he made 253 runs in the 2012 Asia Cup. In the World Cup, he averaged 25.66 with a top-score of 95 against Scotland.

Tamim said that the criticism aimed at him following a run of low scores just after the Scotland innings was acceptable, until the jibes were directed towards his family. He said that it had affected his mental state on the field.

"Personally this was a very important series. I was due. Thanks to God that all came well. There will always be criticism. This is not in my hands. I can't stop people but yesterday I said in an interview that I am ready for criticism. I am a professional cricketer but it should not be personal. For me my family suffered a lot. I played badly. I am at fault. But because of me if my family suffers this is not fair.

"I won't get that mental strength to come and play well. It was difficult for me and more so for my family in the last two months. I know that I may play badly again, This won't be in my hands. Cricket career is like a circle where you will play good and bad and bad and good. So I would request you to keep it to me and not to my family."

Tamim became the third Bangladeshi batsman after Shahriar Nafees (in 2006) and Mahmudullah (in 2015) to score back-to-back ODI hundreds, though he had already done this twice in Test cricket, in 2010 and 2014.

He said approaching 80 during Sunday's innings was when he first felt like reaching a second successive hundred. Before that, it was all about enjoying the innings. It was also only the second time in his career that Tamim remained not out at the end of an ODI innings, something he said was :a lot more important".

"When I went to bat first, only one thing was in my head. I want to enjoy as much as I can. I couldn't score as much runs before the last century. I was telling myself that I want to enjoy as much as I can. I will play my shots.

"When I reached 80 maybe at that point of time I thought of a century. Mushfiqur reminded me about my century earlier but it was only after I reached 80 did I want a century. A lot more important is the fact that I was not out after scoring a century."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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