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Mehidy: 'I never believed I could get the hundred'

Allrounder says calming each other whenever panic set in was a key element of his game-changing stand with Mahmudullah

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Bangladesh allrounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz said that setting small goals, calming each other whenever panic set in, and not worrying about the final total were key elements of his record-breaking partnership with Mahmudullah in the second ODI against India. Their 148-run stand for the seventh wicket helped Bangladesh win by five runs and clinch their second successive series at home against India with a game to spare.
Mehidy, who scored his maiden ODI century in the process, said he loved that despite being a senior player, Mahmudullah, who made 77, listened to his advice of taking the game deep.
"We never had a target in mind," Mehidy said. "We lost six wickets. So [the thinking was] how many could we score? We tried to take one ball at a time and build a small partnership and not think about setting a target. We tried to play to the situation and talked to each other regularly.
"I liked that he respected me even though he is the senior player. He listened to me when I pointed out that he was panicking. I told him not to attack at times and to take the game deeper. The small conversations helped us in our partnership."
Mehidy and Mahmudullah got together on 69 for 6. From there, they kept India at bay for over 27 overs, helping Bangladesh post 271 for 7. While Mehidy bagged his second Player-of-the-Match award in as many matches, he said he did not prepare specifically to set the series alight and was only reaping the rewards of the hard work over the years.
"It is a great moment for me to get my first ODI century," he said. "I will never forget this moment. We were in serious trouble today. My partnership with Riyad [Mahmudullah] bhai was very important. It is a big deal for me. India are one of the best teams in the world. Performing well against a big team is always great. We have won a second ODI series against India. I never really planned specifically to do really well. Luck favoured me.
"I never believed that I could get the hundred. I was playing for the team, had the flow and it happened by Allah's grace."
When Mahmudullah fell, Bangladesh were 217 for 7 with 23 balls left in the innings. But Mehidy and Nasum Ahmed then added 54, with Nasum hitting 18 not out off 11 balls. Mehidy admitted to being surprised by Nasum's innings.
"I wanted to bat out the 50 overs and aimed for 240-250, which would have been tough to chase," Mehidy said. "[But] Nasum batted outstandingly and his 18 runs were vital. Credit to him for scoring so quickly."
Defending 271, Bangladesh overcame half-centuries from Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel to have a firm grip over the match. With 65 needed from 45 balls, Rohit Sharma, who took a blow to his left thumb while fielding and had to get stitches, walked out and got the chase down to the wire. He reduced the equation to six needed off the final ball before Mustafizur Rahman nailed the yorker to seal the deal.
Mehidy, though, said that the 48th over - a maiden by Mustafizur to Mohammed Siraj - was the turning point. That left India needing 40 from 12 balls.
"We were prepared for Rohit Sharma and our bowlers knew what to do," he said. "We had to take ten wickets to win the game. He played really well. But our bowlers also did well, especially at the start. They [Iyer and Axar] had a partnership, but we overcame that too. Mustafizur, Ebadot [Hossain], Shakib [Al Hasan] bhai all bowled well. I didn't do as expected, as I had cramps.
"We believed we could win. We knew a wicket would have given us the advantage. Mustafizur's maiden over was the turning point. He bowled really well in that over."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84