Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has been absolutely central in helping Bangladesh keep their hopes for a spot in the knockout stages of the 2019 ICC World Cup alive, and he credits his performances to the hours he put in before setting foot in England and Wales.
“Before this World Cup, I had prepared well and that is paying off now. It (form) has been a combination of hard work and luck,” Shakib said at the post match presentation ceremony.
Shakib, who’s lowest score at this World Cup has been 41, scored yet another half century and claimed five wickets as Afghanistan crumbled against some top notch bowling by Bangladesh.
“Taking five wickets obviously was special. We know it’s going to get tough with three spinners in the side.”
“It was important to bat deep and I had to really work hard for the half-century. Without Mushfiqur (Rahim) we would not have got where we got and the others chipped in with the bat as well. Overall, it's a team effort.”
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza also had high praise for Shakib, who has now set the bar very high by scoring more than 400 runs and taking more than 10 wickets all in six matches at the World Cup.
“He (Shakib) has been outstanding for us in the tournament, he keeps scoring runs in every game and also comes on to bowl whenever needed. That partnership between Mushy and Shakib was important, as the track wasn't easy to bat on,” Mortaza said after the game.
“Tamim batted well too and then the finish from Mahmudullah and Mosaddek was also crucial.”
Bangladesh however suffered a small injury scare as Mahmudullah pulled up with a calf injury while batting. He batted through with the injury but did not field, and Mortaza is not very worried at the moment.
“There's a week left and I think Mahmudullah should be fine. If we play well, we should be able to do well (against India and Pakistan).”
Afghanistan meanwhile are yet to register a point from their seven games and a disappointed Gulbadin Naib believes the overall preparations may not have been up to mark.
“To do well in such a tournament, you need to prepare well. We didn't have some things going our way like some key injuries and all,” Naib said.
None of the Afghanistan batsmen could make progress after getting a start and the gamble of sending Ikram Ali Khil ahead of Najibullah Zadran did not work out either.
“He (Najibullah Zadran) is a strong hitter, so we wanted to hold him back and hence, sent Ikram up so that he could rotate the strike. But it didn't work. We have done a lot of good things in the tournament.
“We weren't good on the field either and gave 30-40 runs extra. It was a slow wicket with help for the spinners but batting wasn't that hard.”