It's not every day that Bangladesh lead an ODI series 4-0, particularly in what has mostly been a dismal 2014 for them in the format. So after beating Zimbabwe by 21 runs on Friday, Mahmudullah was an elated man, especially as he was coming off a two-year struggle with the bat, the second of which sometimes mirrored the entire team's plight. This was a day to rejoice.
Mahmudulla's unbeaten 82 was an important contribution for Bangladesh as he stood firm in the face of two batting collapses. He hauled the team out of the first quagmire with Mushfiqur Rahim, and later engineered another recovery in the company of Mashrafe Mortaza. Those two partnerships eventually paved the way for Bangladesh's seventh straight victory across all formats. Mahmudullah himself, however, remained grounded.
"I am not the hero and I don't wish to be a hero," he said with a smile. "I try to contribute to the team, and it feels great if I can contribute to a win. I really wanted us to win today, and take the 4-0 lead. I hope we can finish it 5-0."
Mahmudullah let Mushfiqur and Mortaza go on the attack, while he slowly accumulated runs at the other end. In between, he played his best shots - the drives with the extended follow-through, the well-placed cut shots and the wrist work, both off the front and back foot.
This was the ninth time out of ten innings that he had an asterisk next to his half-century. His average when scoring a fifty is remarkable, but only three of those fifties have come in Bangladesh wins.
The score was also his highest in ODIs, and his first fifty since his unbeaten 75 against Zimbabwe in March last year. That is 18 months without a fifty in one-day cricket, a period in which he has averaged 16.21 in 17 matches. There was constant debate about his continued position in the playing XI during this period, but even on the eve of the game, BCB president Nazmul Hassan named him and another player among those who would not be removed to make room for newer, younger players.
Mahmudullah did not comment on the matter, but said that he was never the type to eye the protagonist's role, rather he was someone who simply wished to contribute to the team in any way possible. Still, there was some regret that he did not get to three figures.
"To be honest, I wanted to score the hundred. When we started the fifth-wicket partnership, Mushfiqur was the aggressor and I was playing the anchor role. I didn't take many risks. Then Sabbir [Rahman] and [Abul Hasan] Raju got out so I wanted to be there till the end. I was planning to hit in the last two-three overs. I hope to do it next time."
Mahmudullah said that the match was an important lesson in coming back on top after two shocks to the system. Bangladesh slipped to 32 for 4 by the 13th over, and later lost three wickets in the space of 18 deliveries at another crucial stage, although they did recover well from both setbacks.
"I am happy that we have won this game," Mahmudullah said. "They had a good partnership but we got two quick wickets and returned to the game. We bowled very well in the second Powerplay. Mashrafe gave away just five runs in three overs and Shakib bowled well too.
"We are learning. We started well in the second and third matches but we lost early wickets today. The wicket was a bit tricky. But then we had a big partnership, so I am hoping that against bigger teams, we can cope with these situations in a similar way."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84