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Bangladesh believed they were favourites - Mashrafe

Mashrafe Mortaza has said the team's belief before the ODI series that they were favourites kept them in the right frame of mind

Mashrafe Mortaza has said the team's belief before the ODI series that they were favourites kept them in the right frame of mind. Pakistan became the fourth Full-Member nation after Zimbabwe, West Indies and New Zealand to lose an ODI series to Bangladesh .
Pakistan have looked short of experience with the ODI retirements of Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi, but Mashrafe said every team goes through such phases, and Bangladesh's win wouldn't be diminished despite their opposition's weakness.
"Shakib (Al Hasan) and (Mahmudullah) Riyad said before the ODI series that we start as favourites," Mashrafe said. "It was a feeling within the team too. We all believed that we were favourites. I felt it was important for our preparation. If you say Pakistan is inexperienced, teams go through such phases. It is quite natural. They take a bit of time. But they have a world-class bowling attack. I wouldn't say there's a huge difference between the two sides."
Although Bangladesh had not celebrated much on the field after winning the first ODI last Friday, they were jubilant after Shakib Al Hasan took the winning run to complete the series win. The rest ran out to the middle and also took some time to thank the crowd before heading into the dressing-room where the revelry continued.
While Mashrafe did not want his team to turn the confidence from the 2-0 lead into impudence, he said it was also important to celebrate such an occasion.
"When we had returned home from the World Cup, there were moments when I felt whether we were being given too much importance," Mashrafe said. "Continuing on our World Cup performance was on my mind, so the subsequent series was always going to be important. I think the boys should be proud of what they have achieved, but they don't need to make it too apparent.
"We should keep it among ourselves," he said. "But we must also celebrate this victory, enjoy it. We saw how Australia celebrated after beating us in 2003. They never took a win for granted. Similarly, if we don't enjoy our successes, it will be hard to keep hold of the winning feeling."
Mashrafe said that they were prepared for a final assault in the last 15 overs regardless of Pakistan's stuttering start. At one stage, Pakistan were 77 for five after which Saad Nasim added 77 and 85 for the sixth and unbroken seventh-wicket stands with Haris Sohail and Wahab Riaz to lift the total to 239. Mashrafe, however, praised Bangladesh's bowlers for keeping Pakistan down to a low total.
"Matches change course these days between the 35th and 50th overs," he said. "Many teams now bat in the old way of conserving wickets in the first ten overs, and then go after the bowling after the 35th over. I think if we had taken one more wicket at that stage, they would have broken down further. I think they scored 20 runs more than what their initial position suggested.
"We bowled very well today. These days a score of 240 is something like 180 of the past. (Arafat) Sunny was brilliant, Shakib took the wickets and everyone chipped in. Nobody expected such a professional performance from our bowlers in this wicket," he said.
Mashrafe also felt that a good start with the bat was necessary to ward off any threat from Pakistan's bowling attack. Soumya Sarkar fell after hitting four boundaries off 11 balls but Tamim Iqbal kept finding the boundaries. Bangladesh's score of 83 for 1 was their second highest in an ODI after 10 overs. Tamim and Mahmudullah added 78 for the second wicket before Tamim and Mushfiqur Rahim added their second consecutive 100-run stand between them, which got them within 22 runs of their winning target.
"Two hundred and forty is not really a good score in modern cricket," he said. "We never felt it was a tough chase. When we returned to the dressing-room at the break, we were all confident that we will overcome this chase quite easily if we don't lose early wickets."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84