Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal called Afghanistan the hungrier of the two sides following the visitors' seven-wicket win in the third ODI in Chattogram. Tamim's frustration stems from his side's meek surrender in a match that carried ten World Cup Super League points even though it was a dead rubber as far as the series was concerned.
Tamim has been stressing on treating every game equally since Bangladesh won the ODI series against Sri Lanka last May. There too Bangladesh played poorly in the third match. He repeated the message ahead of the third ODI in Zimbabwe in July, which Bangladesh closed out successfully.
On Monday, they were bundled out for 192, before losing with 59 balls to spare.
"Losing back-to-back wickets makes it difficult," Tamim said. "Three run-outs also didn't help. If we could have managed 250, we could have probably had a better chance. Credit goes to Afghanistan. They were hungrier than us to win the last game. Rashid [Khan] bowled very well today although we played their spinners really well in the first two games. [Rahmanullah] Gurbaz batted really well."
"I wanted the team to finish [the series] on a high and get the maximum points," Tamim said. Bangladesh currently sit atop the points table, but they have challenging assignments up ahead, and Tamim wants his team to aim for a higher position on the World Cup Super League table, not just be satisfied with the World Cup qualification. The top eight teams on the points table automatically qualify for the global event, with the others facing a qualification tournament.
"You don't know about the future," Tamim said. "We are playing next against South Africa and Ireland in their conditions. We are playing against England too, so there's nothing guaranteed. You have to make sure you get maximum points from every opportunity.
"If you want to claim that you have come to win the 2023 World Cup, it wouldn't make sense if you qualify as the seventh or eighth team"
"If we win one or two [matches], we will probably qualify for the World Cup. [But] it is not my target. My personal target as a captain is to finish in the top four. If you want to claim that you have come to win the 2023 World Cup, it wouldn't make sense if you qualify as the seventh or eighth team."
His opposite number Hashmatullah Shahidi was glad Afghanistan could grab ten points after conceding the series. Afghanistan end this series at No. 4 on the points table.
"Every game was important for us in this ODI series," Shahidi said. "We were disappointed after the first two games, but that happens in cricket. These ten points will make our future a little bit easier. I am happy how we played."
Shahidi credited the spinners and fielding efforts but he had special praise for Gurbaz who struck an unbeaten hundred.
"I feel very proud of the way we played in this game," he said. "Gulbadin [Naib] took a great catch [to get rid of Litton Das]. The way Rashid and [Mohammad] Nabi bowled, the three run-outs, all of these were turning points.
"The way Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Riaz Hassan started… Gurbaz got injured in the last game, so he was still not feeling good yesterday. When he told me that he is available, I gave him confidence. I told him, 'You are the one I have belief in.' I told him that whenever he goes out there, he should try to score a hundred.
"He is a match-winner. Whenever he gets a start, he makes it big. We have a bundle of youngsters in the team. Ibrahim Zadran is technically really good. Riaz Hassan gave us a good start today. I am sure they will all play well for Afghanistan in the future."
Tamim too reserved special praise for Litton who had scores of 136 and 86 in the last two ODIs. Litton has turned around his form since the T20 World Cup, scoring hundreds against Pakistan and New Zealand in Tests, and finishing as the team's highest scorer in this ODI series.
"It is really pleasing to see him shining," Tamim said. "I hope he can continue to do so in the near future. He is a quality player. I think he batted exceptionally well in the second game and today. He was very calm at the start but he never missed an opportunity to score runs.
"You had to bat as if you were batting in a Test match because we were playing on a grassy pitch for the first time at home. The ball does a bit. He played the three spinners with a lot of comfort."