Bangladesh v Afghanistan, World T20, Group A, Mirpur March 16, 2014

Knew it would be a one-sided game - Shakib


Afghanistan were stifled by dot balls, a skill rarely displayed by the Bangladesh bowlers and that pressure led the hosts to bowl out an opponent for the first time in T20s during a nine-wicket win to begin their World T20 campaign.

Mohammad Shahzad's growing reputation as a big-hitting opening batsman, even in Bangladesh's domestic cricket, made him a big wicket for the home side. When he lashed out at Mashrafe Mortaza's first delivery and got caught at mid-off, it put Bangladesh in the front foot.

"Mashrafe bhai gave us the early breakthrough," Shakib Al Hasan said. "The fielding was good and the spinners got into the game quickly. It was important to start off with a wicket off the first ball. We played well overall in all three departments."

Mashrafe, Al-Amin Hossain and Shakib strung 24 dot balls between them during the Powerplay, which set up the three wickets that Afghanistan lost in that period. Importantly, Bangladesh's bowlers kept up the momentum throughout the innings. They bowled 67 dot balls in the 17.1 overs. Noticeably and even statistically, this was the Bangladesh bowlers at their best in the shortest format.

"It is always slightly difficult playing against teams like Afghanistan," Shakib said. "You don't know what's coming your way. Someone from No. 7 or 8 can blast the bowlers. Or someone can suddenly bowl well. It will be wrong to make predictions against them, so it is important to look after ourselves, and look to improve in every game.

"The two run-outs were vital, both were good batsmen. Though we dropped a catch, our fielding was good overall. [Mahmudullah] Riyad bhai took two good catches. It usually lifts the morale of the team, which is important for a T20 game."

Shakib insisted he was in a good frame of mind before the game, though there had been talk of unease and nerves in the dressing-room. Few days ago, captain Mushfiqur Rahim had called it a "revenge game".

"I think I was more relaxed before this game than any other match previously. I think our whole team knew that we will win and it will be a one-sided game," Shakib said. "I was about to throw a banana skin in the bin, I said if it falls inside, they will score 40 and if it doesn't they will make 80. They made 72."

But Shakib did confess to the team being relieved, particularly as the win helped avoid an early exit. "I said before that if we play to our potential, Afghanistan won't stand a chance," he said. "It [an upset] can happen once in a while. The pressure has been relieved. It was important to start off well so I am happy and relieved."

What also worked for Bangladesh, and it can easily get lost in all the hype of a big win, is the combination, especially in the spin department. The pitch in Chittagong wouldn't be too different, so there will remain enough reason to stick to this team, which looked more streamlined and focused for T20s.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on March 19, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    @Gagg:...."our team is almost completely different than that second rate one that went to Bangladesh and the team was under a lot of turmoil after the Taylor sacking"??? - That's one of the worse excuses I have ever heard lol 2nd team, 3rd team doesn't really make a difference because we still beaten you without some our best players i.e. Shakib also like to remind you that Guptill, Ryder, Vettori these players I'm assuming you were talking about were all part of that 2010 series but still lost lol so whatever players you were missing or playing doesn't make the slightest of difference based on these facts :) why you bringing population? India has 1.2 billion so? in the end you can only fill 11 players not millions so poor logic I'm afraid :) NZ is an economically developed country with good facilities and Bangladesh is not. So what the NZ team has done in last few years? give us as 'many' matches and I guarantee BD will do even better. Poor excuses to cover your team downfalls :D

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    if all other bangladeshi players also started thinking the same way, then this team would relly be beating all the top teams. the only thing they lack is self confidence which is seen only in a few players of bangladesh.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 10:46 GMT

    I guess the 3 match ban Shakib served has not altered his ego and attitude. All neutral supporters will now be anti Bangladeshi, as I am now, after Shakib's mannerisms both on and off the field, especially if Bangladesh fans also condone it. To have this grudge and intensity towards a so-called minnow like Afhganistan who are just infants in this game shows the level of insecurity Bangladeshi players seem to feel.

  • VIJAY on March 18, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    Im expecting Shakib to tell like this "I KNEW IT WILL BE ONE SIDED GAME" in super 10 round against Australia, Pakistan, India and WI.......even though he tell like this, the above teams can consider that he is telling to his own team..

  • John on March 18, 2014, 0:13 GMT

    When someone told me about that banana comment, I laughed a lot thinking he (the guy who told me) was joking. A grim face replaced that laugh when I learnt it was an actual comment Shakib made. Such arrogance! It's a shame, really. Being a fan doesn't mean you should take such thing lightly. It's really unsportsmanlike thing to say.

  • Shah on March 17, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Not only Shakib the whole BD knew what would be the result at the end in this match ag the tiger's got more ferocious & hungrier after the unexpected loss against them in the Asia cup!!

  • sohel on March 17, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    Afgan can win a world cup according to their supporters !! really!! need to do basic right and behave is more required too

  • Ahmadzai on March 17, 2014, 9:01 GMT

    Shakib must know that 2015 WC is comming and we will see you there in pacy tracks, and also he should remember that Afghanistan won 2012 Asia vs Caribbean T20 Championship from same Bangladesh team, we set them out from 2014 U-19 WC, and also U-19 Asian Cricket games and don't ask about recent Asai cup won.

  • Wahid on March 17, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    @Susmitha Olga Eric, I just suggest you to call a Doctor for you! You are nothing but a day dreamer! 300 runs! You just forget this is T-20 match and moreover you just forget about attitude of Indians team and most of their players. If you are not Indian arrogant supporter then I respect your comments and suggest you to read complete article about Shakib statement. He showed proper respect and said------ "It is always slightly difficult playing against teams like Afghanistan," Shakib said. "You don't know what's coming your way. Someone from No. 7 or 8 can blast the bowlers. Or someone can suddenly bowl well. It will be wrong to make predictions against them, so it is important to look after ourselves, and look to improve in every game. And, banana story is about our team plan. Actually, you don't have knowledge about cricket even though you don't have sports knowledge; I think.

  • BIPUL KUMAR on March 17, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    AFG have long way to go tocome even BANGLADESH !!!!

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