Hridoy on dramatic win against Afghanistan: 'I was confident till the last ball'

After watching a hat-trick from the non-striker's end, he told Shoriful to run whether he hit the next ball or not

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Towhid Hridoy got into unusual positions but took his team to a win, Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I, Sylhet, July 14, 2023

Towhid Hridoy got into unusual positions but took his team to a win  •  Getty Images

Despite playing the match-defining knock in the first T20I against Afghanistan which Bangladesh won in the last over, Towhid Hridoy was nervous as he watched the dramatic win unfold from the non-striker's end. Bangladesh made a meal out of a cakewalk when, with two needed off five balls, Karim Janat took a hat-trick in the final over in Sylhet. Ghosts of the Bengaluru 2016 meltdown were however banished when Shoriful Islam unfurled a cut that got them the winning runs.
At the presentation ceremony, Hridoy said that he was nervous while watching Janat's hat-trick at the other end. Shortly afterwards in the press conference, he further said that he felt each of the dismissed batters could have hit the winning runs in the last over, and when it came down to two off two balls, he told Shoriful to run regardless of hitting the ball.
"I had confidence in everyone," Hridoy said. "Taskin [Ahmed] bhai, Nasum [Ahmed] bhai and Shoriful all bat well. Taskin bhai won us a game like this with two boundaries against England. I believed Shoriful could do the job. We have played Under-19s together. I was confident till the last ball. I told him that, 'we are running whether you hit it or not. You will win us the game'.
"I felt okay. We needed just two runs. We could score one or two runs if ball hit the bat somehow. I always try to stay calm.
"I tried to tell my batting partners what the bowler could do."
Hridoy said that when Shamim Hossain joined him at 64 for 4 and they needed 91 off 59 balls, he felt that two big overs could give them the rhythm. The first of those came swiftly, when they took 21 off the 13th over, bowled by Azmatullah Omarzai, which included five wides after Hridoy slammed two fours, and the asking rate of 9.50 came down to under eight an over.
The match could have still swung either way as Bangladesh needed 35 from 24, but they collected 16 runs off Fazalhaq Farooqi in the 17th over to turn the game.
"I told Shamim that we have won matches from this situation in domestic cricket," Hridoy said. "We are middle-order batters so if we can get the momentum in the next two overs, the course of the match will change. That's what happened. The rhythm changed in those two overs.
"We stuck to a plan. We tried to bat with calculative risks. We were focused on execution. International opponents are challenging. Everyone has a strong side. We tried to be positive.
"We reacted to the demand of the situation. Regardless of the opposition, this type of win always gives the players a lot of confidence. I am happy to have walked off with the win. These opportunities don't come always."
But Shamim and Mehidy Hasan Miraz getting out, followed by Janat's hat-trick underlined the risk Bangladesh are taking by playing six bowlers. This strategy strengthens the bowling, but puts a lot of onus on Nos. 6 and 7 to finish off games. Taskin Ahmed is the most capable of the batters from Nos. 8 to 11. Among the others, Shoriful, Nasum and Taijul Islam can hold their own but Ebadot Hossain and Hasan Mahmud are genuine No. 11s.
How the batting coaches shape and improve the last four batting spots will go a long way in Bangladesh's quest for glory in the two big white-ball tournaments later this year.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84