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Mohammad Isam in Khulna
November 30, 2012
Bangladesh went from being a Test side short on confidence to a one-day unit that looked at ease in Khulna in the space of a few days. After losing the Tests 0-2, Bangladesh began the five-ODI series, a format they are far more comfortable with, by beating West Indies by seven wickets. After the comprehensive victory, their opener Tamim Iqbal said the result was not at all unexpected.
The atmosphere leading into the first one-dayer was thick with concern over how much Bangladesh would have to chase if West Indies batted first and their big-hitters exploited the new fielding conditions that allowed only four men outside the inner circle during the non-Powerplay overs. They were also without Shakib Al Hasan for the first time in four years.
However, senior players like Tamim and left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak made important contributions, guiding a team that contained four debutants to victory. Razzak's 3 for 39 in ten overs helped keep West Indies to 199; Tamim's 58 off 51 balls, his fifth consecutive ODI half-century, ensured the target would be achieved comfortably.
"The win wasn't unexpected to be honest," Tamim told ESPNcricinfo. "We are a good one-day team, we have done well in the past. We played very well as a team and you will see that very few Bangladesh wins are single efforts.
"We play more one-day cricket and we are a confident unit. We don't play enough Test matches. It wasn't assumed that we would win, but we knew that we would remain in the game if we did well in all three areas. We remained strong, and we bounced back."
It was Bangladesh's 73rd win in 263 ODIs, and their third this year following the two wins in the Asia Cup. Those four games in March were Bangladesh's only source of confidence this year as they lurched from an early exit in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka to the Test defeats against West Indies.
Razzak said that the nature of the Khulna pitch, another slow turner, had given him hope. "It is a result of consistent performance in the one-day format, especially after the Asia Cup," he said. "Ahead of the game, there was a little concern mainly because of the long gap between one-dayers.
"This wicket was like the one in Chittagong, and we have a good record there. I have played three first-class matches at this ground so that was also a source of confidence. I told everyone in the dressing-room that if we could just bring our skills together, something different will happen."
Razzak's performance and the four-wicket haul from debutant spinner Sohag Gazi played a huge part in the win. There had been a lot of surprise when Bangladesh had announced a XI with four debutants. "It is normally difficult to have so many debuts together. There may be mistakes," Razzak said. "It is their first match, you can't blame them. But the thing is some players don't feel pressure on debut. The ones who made debut today … they were strong, so we didn't feel it as a problem."
The wickets from the spinners after the early pressure from the two pace bowlers gave Tamim and the rest of the batsmen a relatively easy target. "I know I should be disappointed for not getting a hundred and I am, but I did what I had to do for the team," Tamim said. "We were chasing 200 runs so if we had gone slow, it would have been a different story.
"I went after the bowling, kept up the run-rate and it was useful for the team in the end. Sometimes 20 runs are more valuable than a century if it works for the team."
Tamim said Bangladesh were going to shift focus to the next game quickly. "We don't have the time to celebrate. We have training tomorrow ahead of a very important game on Sunday. I think the people in the country are happy, they are dancing and enjoying in this city. That's all the celebration we like to see."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondentFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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