Tamim Iqbal: 'I just wanted to go for the kill'

"Today our attitude was, no matter what, we will be aggressive. We will try to finish it off as quickly as possible"

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Tamim Iqbal sweeps one behind, South Africa vs Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Centurion, March 23, 2022

Tamim Iqbal - "My message to the team was not to think like we are chasing 155 runs, but to think like chasing 270 or 280"  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal has said that the team's tendency in the past to lose their way from promising positions urged him to go with an all-out attacking mindset against South Africa. The hosts were bowled out for 154 in the deciding ODI, as Bangladesh duly went on to clinch their first ever series win in South Africa.
South Africa were batting at seven runs an over in the 7th over when they started losing their way. Quinton de Kock's wicket slowed them down, but Tamim said that only wickets at regular intervals could have given Bangladesh the upper hand.
"We didn't think we could bowl them out for 154 seeing how they started their innings," Tamim said. "We have been repeatedly saying in team huddles, that we should give it everything that we have in the field. This was the talk. When we got two quick wickets after their good start, I just wanted to go for the kill. We have had a history of giving away big partnerships after taking three or four early wickets. Today our attitude was, no matter what, we will be aggressive. We will try to finish it off as quickly as possible. I asked Taskin to bowl as fast as he can, to try to get wickets."
Taskin Ahmed paid back his captain's faith with a five-wicket haul, particularly by removing the main South Africa batters. Taskin's hands were full in the post-match presentation ceremony with the Player-of-the-Match and Player-of-the-Series trophies. At one point, Tamim leaned in and whispered something to him.
Later, Tamim said that Taskin understood that giving up on an IPL contract - he was reportedly approached by the Lucknow Super Giants franchise to be their replacement for Mark Wood, which both BCB and Taskin turned down - was a big decision, but winning Bangladesh an ODI series in South Africa was a bigger achievement.
"There's nothing more to be motivated than to play for the country. It was a hard decision (for Taskin not to go to the IPL). He is young. He wouldn't want to miss this kind of opportunity. But, he is happy that he is doing well for the country. When he got both trophies in the presentation, I told him this is your IPL. This is bigger than the IPL. He agreed with me and he is happy."
Tamim said that the highlight of Bangladesh's series win was how their fast bowlers contributed to the team's success after spending years in the shadows of left-arm spinners.
"Winning a series in South Africa against a quality team has to be in the top three (of our best performances). I am very proud captain to see Taskin get the awards. When we talk about Bangladesh cricket team, we usually mention left-arm spinners and offspinners.
"I have been telling this for a long time now that our fast-bowling unit has been doing unbelievably well. Mustafizur and Shoriful did equally important stuff for us. Mustafiz does the difficult job for us: he bowls a few overs up front and then bowls in the death, which is the most difficult part."
Bangladesh chased down the target in record time, having won the match with the most balls remaining in an overseas ODI. Tamim himself blasted an unbeaten 87, and revealed the frame of mind he was in as he tried to avoid any slip-ups chasing a small total.
"Soon after the first innings ended, my message to the team huddle was not to think like we are chasing 155 runs. I wanted them to think like chasing 270 or 280. Small chases can be tricky sometimes. Two early wickets would have brought trouble. We wanted to bat normally, and play as aggressively as possible."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84