Tamim Iqbal: 'Nurul Hasan's innings was very good to see'

Bangladesh's young players step up to seal a 3-0 sweep over Zimbabwe

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Nurul Hasan came out to bat with Bangladesh still needing 95 to win and he navigated a tight chase to perfection  •  BCB

Nurul Hasan came out to bat with Bangladesh still needing 95 to win and he navigated a tight chase to perfection  •  BCB

Two critical moments in the third ODI demanded that Bangladesh find someone besides their experienced trio to help the team turn a corner. On both occasions, the "other guys" came through. Nurul Hasan will take the headlines. The 27-year old was playing his first ODI in five years and yet he played the finisher's role to perfection, scoring an unbeaten 45 off 39 balls to seal victory with two overs to spare.
But there were so many crucial contributions.
Mohammad Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman took five wickets in the space of 13 balls, at a time when Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza were tearing it up, to bowl Zimbabwe out for 298. Bangladesh have not always had pace bowlers capable of completely changing the momentum of a game like that.
Then came Hasan.
Zimbabwe had removed Tamim Iqbal - who made a scintillating 112 - and Mahmudullah off successive deliveries. They had their tails up. But that didn't help one bit.
Hasan displayed exactly the sort of batting Bangladesh have been waiting for from one of their younger players. He was calm. He trusted his game. His six boundaries were all perfect cricketing shots. No innovation necessary. He added 64 for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Mithun and 34 for the unbroken sixth wicket stand with Afif Hossain to help the team complete a 3-0 sweep.
Captain Iqbal was pleased with Hasan's performance but made a point to add that his spot - and a couple of others in the middle order - is still up for grabs.
"I think everyone should get opportunities," Iqbal said. "(Mohammad Mithun) didn't do well in the last couple of matches but if you think back to New Zealand, he made a good contribution in the game we should have won. We don't have the perfect player at No. 5 and 6 so we are giving them opportunities. Today Sohan's [Nurul Hasan] innings was very good to see. There are two-three people who are fighting for one spot."
Iqbal played a stroke-filled innings and reached his fastest ODI hundred, off 87 balls.
"I felt I was in good rhythm," he said. "I didn't think it was a challenging time. I felt I was batting quite well in both Tests and ODIs recently, but maybe I missed out on scoring big runs. I am happy to have contributed in this chase."
He admitted he played through pain due to his knee injury, which will keep him out of action for at least two months. "I was going through a lot of pain although I wasn't showing it. My knee is heavily taped. It is such an injury that maybe if I continue, I might do the job, but if it flares up, I will be out of cricket for seven-eight months.
"I don't think we need to take that risk. I should be fine before the T20 World Cup if I take rest for eight to ten weeks during which I will do the rehab," he said.
Shakib Al Hasan, who was adjudged Player-of-the-Series for his all-round performance, said that despite the 3-0 series result, Bangladesh were tested in all the matches. Shakib himself had bailed the side out with an unbeaten 96 in the second game when they were 173 for 7, chasing 241.
"I think we faced a number of situations when we got tested," he said. "I think we passed those tests, which was satisfying. But there's always room for improvement. We should take as much as possible from this series to the next ones. We have to keep improving."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84