Bangladesh v India, World Cup 2015, 2nd Q-F, Melbourne March 19, 2015

A brilliant tournament for us - Mashrafe


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'Feel proud as captain of this team' - Mashrafe

A quick finish loomed when Nasir Hossain, the last of Bangladesh's specialist batsmen, was caught at cover in the 43rd over. In came Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, trudging slowly across the unending outfield. An over later, he was walking the same length again with that gingerly walk - head down, a man disappointed by the manner of surrender in Bangladesh's biggest match after a season of pluses. One over later, Bangladesh's exit was a reality.

The MCG's dimensions can be disconcerting, more so when you have to walk them again and again, contemplating the past month, the highs of qualifying after fighting wins, and ruing missed opportunities.

When Mashrafe arrived at the media centre a few minutes later, he had done another long walk from the other side of the ground. He sat with a pale expression, hands brushing the hair, and spoke in a low, cracking voice, keeping his answers brief, till he finally caught a draft of positivity and opened up about the team's campaign.

"It was brilliant tournament for us," Mashrafe said. "Obviously the way we played today, it wasn't great, but most of the players in our side, from 2008 haven't had any cricket in Australia. So it was a real ask for us. But the way the boys adjusted to the wickets and conditions, I feel very proud as the captain of this team, and hopefully our boys will take it in the next series.

"I think, except today, our batters have batted really well throughout this tournament, which is much needed for us," he said. "And hopefully they'll continue because a very tough year is coming for us. And I think the confidence we got, hopefully it will continue."

The quarter-final loss brought to an end an encouraging World Cup for Bangladesh, a tournament which had contributions across the board, not just from the big-name players. That synergy worked in their favour again as they found a controlling mechanism after conceding 75 in 16.3 overs to India's openers.

For the next 15 overs, Mashrafe seemed less a captain and more a traffic warden: he would stand next to the stumps and wave his hands to set the fields just right. A few edges were found, but India slipped through the grip to counter in the last stages. From that point, Bangladesh could not recover.

"I think our plan was to stop singles," he said. "Yes, they can hit three, four or six, but our plan is to stop singles, and I think our plan was pretty good. We were a bit unlucky that we couldn't get a wicket at that time. If we could get one wicket it would be much better for us, but the way Rohit and Suresh played, it was brilliant. Hopefully it will carry on for them, and good luck to India.

"We always knew that they'll come hard after 35 (overs) they have been brilliant after 35. They take calculated risks, and they've had success. Once again, we couldn't bowl with our plans, and that was the moment, during bowling time."

India scored 147 runs in the last 15 overs. It was during this period that Rohit Sharma was reprieved by the umpires after he hit a high full-toss straight to the fielder at deep midwicket. The umpires deemed it too high, although replays showed it would have been fine.

Mashrafe protested the decision, but that moment gnawed hard on Bangladesh's concentration. Misfields crept up, bowlers served up length balls at the death earning ire from the captain, and another no-ball was conceded because there were not enough fielders in the ring. It was in that period that Bangladesh appeared stretched and they never recovered.

However, once the disappointment of the loss settles, Bangladesh can look back at the strides they have made on this trip. The batting gains in Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman, the bowling form of Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed, the return to confidence of Nasir, and that new-found edge in temperament. Think of how broken this side was six months ago. Under Mashrafe, the old-timer, they are already on the path of recovery.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Farhan on March 22, 2015, 20:56 GMT

    Bangladesh played well in this tournament...the Jordan run out was fair. From one side view it looked pretty clear that his bat was in the air when the bells came off. So, there is no question of benefit of doubt. So many people are now using this to prove Bangladesh lucky and somehow balance it against a clear-cut no ball. I wonder if they really watched BD vs ENG or not.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2015, 18:35 GMT

    Bangladesh team was lucky to reach the quarter finals. England had an off day and was caught cold. It is also possible that England saw no threat from Bangladesh and were complacent.

  • Amir on March 21, 2015, 15:31 GMT

    Good tournament. I think the biggest nistake was to bring in an opener and putting him in right away. Imrul has never delivered for BD. Soumya is an opener. he should have opened with Tamim once Anamul got hurt. Mominul should have played at 3 and Mahmudullah at 4. than Mushy and Shakib followed by Sabbir and/or Nasir based on the need. Bringing in an inexperienced openerin AUS condition screwed up the team batting lineup. We wouldn't have beaten IN but I am sure we would have put up a better fight. Go Tigers!

  • sdfdsf on March 21, 2015, 12:53 GMT

    The reason India is better is because of IPL, lot of money being thrown in and all their players getting the exposure playing with the best of other nations and batting without fear because you have to go for big strokes in T20. If Bd or Pak got these , they would have played better than India.

  • Dummy on March 21, 2015, 9:09 GMT

    Its really good to see BAN tigers played well in abroad.But time for us to move faster focusing next ODI world cup along with our main focus to get into grade 8 as Test playing country.Its high time for us to make a different Test and ODI team consisting of different players. Specially dropping Kayes and Tamim from ODIs and set Mominul as proper Test player.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2015, 22:04 GMT

    Overall, I am happy with all the players performance. However, most devastating news was inclusion of Imrul Kayes in the team after Enamul was injured. I was hoping Liton Das will be selected, instead of Imrul Kayes, age is just 20/21, in top form of career and he was the top run scorer in Bangladesh National league as an opener. Instead of that, they picked Imrul Kayes only for experience !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Moreover, I think they are not using Mominul properly or use him as useless one day batsman, which is most unfortunate. Mashrafe was not fit to play against India and may be they can try with Shafiul, who is also very quick pace bowler. Left arm spin bowler should be omit from the team unless a very sensational one come in or Sakib is injured. Need variation in bowling and more courage in top order batting. Soumya is a good finding in the team and hope he will continue his style of fearless batting and improve on his weakness in short pitch bowling.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2015, 9:04 GMT

    Mashrafe should be dropped from the team ..his 120 slow medium pace is not menacing.and cannot bat also...a better player who doesn't shout at his fellow players is needed

  • Edward Wayne John on March 20, 2015, 8:50 GMT

    As a west indian fan looking on , i urge Bangla to trust in their fast bowlers and do away with packing their teams with left arm spinners .

  • Vinod on March 20, 2015, 6:11 GMT

    well played tigers, joy bangla...from an indian fan

  • Vipul on March 20, 2015, 3:36 GMT

    Indeed it was a good tournament for BD. Some luck - as AUS game was washed out and England was in poor form. But BD capitalized on that to get to QF. They India under control till 33 overs, but they could not take one extra wicket prior to power play. That's where experience comes in the play where one would see that Dhoni would have managed to get one more wicket. Granted one decision did not go in their favor, but there were still 10 overs left. The pressure finally go to the players. That's where maturity come in the play which Indian team has it. Indian team was also tested against WI by losing 5 wickets in 100 and against Ireland, but they managed to win both of them. Couple of more games like this and BD can win the game like this. Let's face it, they have done better than WI, who were hanging out there till last moment to qualify for QF and had poor attitude throughout the tournament.

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