Mashrafe Mortaza rued Bangladesh's inability to capitalise on a good start with the bat, but stressed his team can be proud of themselves after narrowly missing out on victory in the Asia Cup final against India.
Batting first, Bangladesh got an opening stand worth 120 through Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan, but managed only 222 in 48.3 overs despite Das scoring 121. The bowlers stretched the game to the very last ball but India held their nerve for a three-wicket win.
"Our boys should feel proud. I think we have to learn so many things. Every time we played a tournament like this, We are struggling somewhere or the other. Today we made a good start but couldn't go through," said Mortaza after the game.
"In the last few matches, we lost early wickets but managed to score 240-250. I think the bowlers did a good job in the tournament. Whenever we scored 240, we won the matches. We are proud but we have to move forward. We're missing the big boys, missing Shakib (Al Hasan) and Tamim (Iqbal) was a big blow, but I think boys have done a really good job."
Mortaza said he would have ideally wanted one of the pacers - Rubel Hossain or Mustafizur Rahman - to bowl the final over, but said it couldn't happen given the way the game panned out.
"It would've been ideal if I could've used Rubel or Mustafizur at the end, but it wasn't an ideal situation. I asked Mahmudullah if he was confident. He had the experience of bowling in these situations in the last over in the BPL. Soumya (Sarkar) would have been easier to score off. We wanted them to mis-hit one, and then you never know.
"We wanted Kuldeep (Yadav) to mis-hit one because (Kedar) Jadhav is a recognised batsman. He would have better calculations. The inside edge off the fifth ball could have gone to the stumps. Actually, you need luck in these situations, but when we had it under control, we couldn't capitalise."
Mortaza said the game could have been different had his spinners bowled better, but said he couldn't blame them after the batsmen wasted their chance.
"If our offspinners bowled well, the scenario would've been different," he said. "Mustafizur and Rubel bowled so well that if we could have given them the ball from the 46th over, I think even 25 runs could have been defended.
"You would always back the spinners when you see the ball turning in the first innings. Mehidy has bowled well throughout the tournament. Mahmudullah was good in the last game. We needed to bring 10 overs from them, but we were struggling to do that. Nazmul Islam could have bowled better, but you cannot blame the bowlers after setting 223 to win. I think all of you thought in the half-time that we won't be winning."