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It was Very Important That I kept Believing in Myself: Mushfiqur Rahim

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: September 27, 2018, 8:25 AM IST
It was Very Important That I kept Believing in Myself: Mushfiqur Rahim

(Credit: AP)

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Mushfiqur Rahim's measured 99 backed up by a four-wicket haul from Mustafizur Rahman helped Bangladesh trounce Pakistan by 37 runs and seal a spot in the finals of the 2018 Asia Cup on Wednesday. They will now face India for the title for the second consecutive time, having made it to the finals in the 2016 edition as well.

It was a clinical performance by the Mashrafe Mortaza-led side as they outplayed Pakistan in all three facets of the game. Batting first, Bangladesh lost their first three wickets inside the first five overs, but Mushfiqur and Mohammad Mithun (60) provided them with the much-needed stability with a 144-run stand for the fourth wicket. The wicket-keeper batsman missed his century by just one run but the lower order scored some handy runs before Bangladesh were bowled out for 239 in 48.5 overs.

Mushfiqur, who was named Man of the Match for his effort heaped praise on Mithun and the way the youngster dug in after the initial slump.

"With the new ball and the quality that Pakistan had we knew we could lose the early wickets, but it was very important I kept believing in myself because I was in great touch and also Mithun, I thought he played really well," said Mushfiqur at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"I just spoke to Mitun that we need a partnership and the wicket is really good, so we can catch the run-rate later, but we should make sure that we dig in the first ten overs."

With the wicket still good to bat on, Bangladesh needed a strong effort from their bowlers. Rahman and Mehidy Miraz did just as they stuck to a plan and executed it brilliantly to reduce Pakistan to 18 for 3 in 3.3 overs.

"We changed our combination a bit today, normally I start the bowling, but today we changed a bit, we began with Miraz and Fizz," said Mortaza. "The bowlers have done a really good job, especially when we didn't have the runs. In the end, the bowlers were brilliant."

Bangladesh's fielding on the day as well was as good as any seen in recent times. The fielders dived around and attacked the ball from the outset. Mortaza himself led from the front with a flying catch at short midwicket to get rid of the dangerous Shoaib Malik, which in a lot of ways turned the tide in Bangladesh's favour.

"We can be proud of our fielding today. After a long time we have seen this quality of fielding from Bangladesh," said Mortaza. "Hopefully the boys can understand that fielding is very important in any sort of games and can continue. We still need to improve a bit of our batting and bowling in some part.

"I was lucky that I didn't drop that catch because Shoaib Malik was in such good form. We know that India are a serious side. We will be missing Shakib and Tamim but hopefully, the boys can show their character on Friday in the last match."

For Pakistan Imam-ul-Haq (83) was the only bright spot on the day. He stitched crucial partnerships with Malik and Asif Ali but with no other contribution from the rest of the batsmen, they could only limp to 202 for 9 in their 50 overs.

"We are obviously not feeling good. As a team our performance in the tournament has been quite poor. As a captain and as a player, I have not done well too," admitted Sarfraz Ahmed. "If you see we fell short in all three areas of the game. We didn't field well, our batting collapsed, we couldn't take wickets in the middle-over as. As a team we didn't do well in any department."

Ahmed, in his post-mortem of Pakistan's failure in the tournament, pinned the blame on the regular batting collapses.

"Our batting collapses was the main reason for our defeat in this tournament," he said. "Fakhar is our main batsman, he failed to perform in this tournament and Shadab and Nawaz also had opportunities. As a bowling unit, if you see we made a good comeback, but them if we have to beat good teams, we had to be at the top of our game."
First Published: September 27, 2018, 8:20 AM IST
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