Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza heaped praise on Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun after Bangladesh made a winning start to their Asia Cup 2018 campaign on Saturday, stating that their ability to bat well despite being under pressure helped the team immensely.
Bangladesh began their Asia Cup campaign with a 137-run victory against Sri Lanka in Dubai, a win that was possible largely due to Mushfiqur and Mithun aiding the side in putting up a defendable total.
“I should thank Mushfiqur and Mithun, they batted well under pressure. Losing two wickets early is always pressure, also Tamim couldn't bat so it was nice to see how they batted,” Mortaza said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Mortaza, however, added that the onus was now on the team’s youngsters to step up and perform well and pointed out areas where his side will need to improve.
“The way our seniors are performing set up the team really well. Now, the juniors should step up. Hopefully they will come back strongly.”
“There are lots of things we can improve. We could have scored 280, 290 easily. We have to improve our bowling and fielding obviously. You have to be prepared for the conditions.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews bemoaned a “bad effort” by his side but was also quick to praise Mushfiqur, whose knock of 144 turned the game on its head.
“It was a bad effort by the whole team, after having them three down for three runs. We dropped too many catches,” Mathews said.
“Mushfiqur (Rahim) batted really well. I had to use Lasith (Malinga) to try and get a wicket in the middle part of the innings,” he added. "260 was a chaseable total; it’s unfortunate that the batters didn't deliver today. We lost too many wickets too early.”
Mushfiqur, who received the Man of the Match for his performance, stated that he was glad to get a win in the first game. He also said that this was one of his best knocks for Bangladesh
“Thanks to Almightly that he gave me the strength. This was the first game so we knew we had to win to qualify for the next round. Credit goes to Mithun, he took the pressure off me,” he said.
“I thought I was in great knick, I was determined to score runs for my team. The wicket was good, it was easy to hit boundaries with five fielders inside the ring till the 40th over.
“Thankfully, it paid off. Probably the best I have batted for Bangladesh. Hopefully, many more to come,” he signed off.