ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Bang v Netherlands, World Cup 2011, Chittagong
Shakib hails Shafiul as key
Sidharth Monga in Chittagong
March 14, 2011
The most pleasing aspect of Monday's win for Bangladesh will be that they did what was expected of them. That can't be said of the first four games, but on Monday they came out against a lower-ranked team and professionally and solidly fashioned a facile win that keeps them alive in the tournament. Bangladesh might have lost to Netherlands in their only international before this, but at home, on a slow and low pitch, they were strong favourites, and demonstrated just why. However, even on this track, the best fast bowler on display was wearing green and red, and that was impressive too.
Two men, though, stood out more than the others in what was a good team effort. Again it will please Bangladesh that they are the two same men that were a notch above the others in their win against England. Imrul Kayes again came up with a level-headed fifty to anchor the chase, and Shafiul Islam, on a slow pitch, produced a performance that yielded no wickets, but might have got him a four-for some other day.
Despite the lack of wickets, Shafiul's contribution was not lost on either of the captains. What made his first spell of 6-3-7-0, more than the number of edges he missed out on, was that the batsmen were targeting him while the ball was hard and coming on. Yet they probably felt lucky they didn't lose any wickets to him.
"In his first spell, he got nice away swing," Peter Borren, Netherlands' captain, said of him. "He didn't bowl a bad ball pretty much the whole day. He was pretty consistent. We were looking to kind of attack the seamers at the start because we thought that might be our opportunity to score a little bit, in the Powerplay against the hard ball with some pace on the ball, but to be honest he didn't allow us to do that. He bowled really nicely today, and credit to him for giving nothing away. He didn't go for many runs, and he probably deserved more wickets than he got."
Shakib Al Hasan was full of praise too. "The first two matches we won were both due to massive contributions from Shafiul," he said. "He delivered at crucial moments. Today also he did very well with the new ball, and even later in the innings. I think he has learnt a lot from the India match, which he is being able to apply now. And that is giving him the confidence that he can be a world-class bowler."
Shafiul's good work was followed up on by the trio of left-arm spinners, and then after Tamim Iqbal's dismissal in the first over, Kayes played the kind of innings that soothes nerves in the dressing room. No loose shots, no hurry to get to the target. When he won the Man-of-the-Match award for a pretty similar effort against England, he pointed out that it was his first match award. Three days later he has now emulated Manjural Islam Rana as the only Bangladesh player with consecutive match awards in ODIs.
Last time, Kayes also pointed out that Shafiul actually deserved the award, but today he was there at the end, unbeaten, and there was no doubt as to who the Man of the Match should be. "The last match Man-of-the-Match award was given to me but I did not deserve it. It was Shafiul who should have got it," he said. "But this match I played well and was unbeaten. I had not won a Man-of-the-Match award before these two, so getting this today makes me very happy.
"I think the wicket was not good to bat on. When Tamim got out I was constantly talking to Junaid [Siddique]. The main thing was when Junaid hit a good ball, I thought if I stayed at the wicket I would be successful."
Shakib said of Kayes' innings: "Last match he batted really well, but in this match he had to struggle a bit because of the wicket, which was not allowing us to play shots. He stuck around and did the right thing."
This was the best Bangladesh could have done in terms of the result from this game, for the net run-rate situation is beyond their control. They are so far behind West Indies and Ireland, the teams they can end up tied with, that it is near impossible to beat their run-rates. A lot now depends on the result of the match between England and West Indies, but Shakib continues to remain positive. "It is in our hands too," he said. "If we win the next match [against South Africa] we will get to the quarter-finals. It is as simple as that."