Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim rated the 3-0 whitewash against New Zealand slightly ahead of their 4-0 win over the same opponents in 2010. He believed the win this time was evidence of Bangladesh's progress and at the same time argued it is harder to follow up on a previously high achievement.
The home side won three close matches last time New Zealand visited, but in the current three-match series they won comfortably in the first two and chased 309 in the third and final game in Fatullah.
"Both the achievements have different experiences but personally the 3-0 win feels better for me," Mushfiqur said. "Firstly, I am the captain, and secondly because you can achieve a result with a lot of hard work but to hold that result is even more difficult."
"During the 4-0 win in 2010, the team was different. Here our best performers were not in the team. Despite everything we won this series, so I feel this series win is doubly important. This is proof that the Bangladesh team is improving."
The sense of confidence within Mushfiqur's team was evident in his decision to bat first in Mirpur in the second ODI, which they won by 40 runs, and also by the decision to field first in Fatullah. The recent scores on this newly-laid wicket suggested that batting first would be a better option due to lower bounce in the second innings. However, it turned out to be a truer wicket with better bounce and Bangladesh made 309 when the average second-innings score on these wickets had been 157.
"It wasn't a win-the-toss-bat-first kind of wicket," Mushfiqur said. "Since it was a day game, we wanted to use early swing in the first five to ten overs, take wickets and put them on pressure.
"But they started well and it seemed like they would score 320-330 at one point. A score like 307, with the new ODI rules, is not a big target. We just tried to play at our best."
This win was secured by the little contributions within the batting line-up. It started with Ziaur Rahman's cameo where he swung at almost every ball and came up with two fours and two sixes in his 20-ball 22. By the time he fell in the eighth over, Bangladesh's run-rate was well in line with what was required.
Mominul Haque's 32 kept the run-rate intact while Naeem Islam's half-century was responsible for the rest of the innings. Nasir Hossain provided the finishing with an unbeaten 44 off 38 balls, with Sohag Gazi and Mahmudullah also helping out
"I think the small contributions were a lot in numbers. The young players are playing well, putting pressure on the senior players. We also have to try to hold our position," Mushfiqur said."This is good for Bangladesh cricket. Everyone sees the team's interest ahead of their own.
Mushfiqur revealed he had had a talk with Nasir after the batsman did not contribute in the first two matches of the series. He added that Naeem, too, was an inspiration because he was not even in their plans until Shakib Al Hasan came down with dengue fever, but he turned out to be one of the Man-of-the-Series contenders with the highest runs among both teams although that ultimately went to the captain
"I never thought of becoming the Man of the Series," Mushfiqur said. "I was congratulating Naeem bhai because he is the highest scorer, so he was unlucky that I got it. He wasn't supposed to play. If Shakib didn't get sick he would not be playing the whole series, so I feel that everyone has matured a lot.
"Nasir didn't score in the last two games. I have been telling him for the last two days not to worry too much. When the team needs runs you will score, we said. I hope that we can continue like this which is the biggest challenge. It's difficult but if we have the mentality we can do it."