Tigers’ first attempt at Goliath

November 29, 2011

Though he considers the opponents as favourites, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim deemed that the country’s cricket has passed the phase where a respectable defeat is good enough.
Notwithstanding the difference of Twenty20 experience with Pakistan, the 23-year-old didn’t rule out a positive Tuesday for the home side who, last month, beat West Indies in a nail-biting contest in the game’s shortest format.
“I think Bangladesh cricket has crossed that barrier where we aimed for a respectable loss against a big team. This mentality is not within any of this group of players. We play to win every game against whichever team,” said Mushfiqur during the pre-match press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday where he also confirmed that Tamim Iqbal has recovered sufficiently from the knee injury and is fit to play while pace bowling all-rounder Forhad Reza, who missed the pre-match training due to a death in the family, could feature in the playing eleven.
The Tigers defeated Darren Sammy’s side by three wickets with one ball to spare, Mushfiqur completing the victory with a heroic 41.
“West Indies were favourites against us as we don’t usually play Twenty20s. At the end of the day, we bowled well and despite a hiccup in batting, we finished as winners.
“It will be more difficult tomorrow [Tuesday] as they’re experienced and in form, but they have to start from scratch to beat us,” he said.
Bangladesh will depend largely on Shakib Al Hasan, who is among the Tigers’ top batsmen and bowlers in the format. In the sides’ last game, it was the world’s No 1 all-rounder who held the then world champions at bay in St Lucia last year with a tight spell of 2-27 from four overs. Later, Shakib’s quickfire 47 helped Mohammad Ashraful in the chase which ultimately faltered.
Misbahul Haq’s side will be a whole new proposition as it is a side that is the most experienced Twenty20 international side in the world. Their recent decimation of Sri Lanka in the shorter formats is evidence enough of their prowess, especially the calm with which the skipper completed the five-wicket win in Abu Dhabi last Friday.
Mushfiqur, despite all his optimism, is aware of Pakistan’s strength and was honest enough to recognise the team’s dominance over the Tigers. “They’re the favourites no doubt but if we play our best cricket, it won’t be easy to beat us in any of the formats. We have this confidence that if we can get over our weaknesses, we can make this series quite competitive,” he said.
“I think Bangladesh were never at their best collectively against Pakistan in the past. They have 5-6 match-winners so it is hard to beat a side that strong despite giving your 100 percent.
“They are human and they could make mistakes and let us into games,” he added.
In only his second series as captain, Mushfiqur seems to require more time to root out his weakness of taking a defeat to heart, evident in his words when asked if he is enjoying captaincy.
“It is great when we win and equally bad when we lose,” he said. “As a player and captain, I tell the players to perform their tasks with hundred percent honesty without thinking about the result. If we can do it everyday, the result will be in our favour.”

-With The Daily Star input

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