‘We had nothing to lose coming in, and that gives us great freedom’ – Mushfiqur Rahim – International Cricket Council

After powering his side to their first-ever T20I win over India on Sunday, 3 November, Bangladesh wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim called the feat a ‘great moment’ and credited the team’s youngsters for making it happen.

Rahim scored an unbeaten 60 off 43 balls, as Bangladesh successfully chased down India’s 148/6 with seven wickets remaining. It was a special win, whose worth is accentuated by the fact that Bangladesh were missing two of their key players – Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal – in the contest. Now, Mushfiqur wants the side to reproduce all the good bits from their opening win in the rest of the series.

“It’s a great moment for Bangladesh cricket because we had not won against them [India] in the T20 format before,” he said. “And as you said, we were missing a couple of our key players [Shakib and Tamim] in our line-up, but I thought the way the young players have stuck together and the way our bowlers are bowling, especially against India, it’s outstanding. They set up the game.

We had nothing to lose coming into this game and the whole series, so that gives us a great cushion and the freedom to play to our potential and a fearless brand of cricket.

Mushfiqur Rahim

“We have come here to compete in each and every game. As long as you are playing consistent cricket and improving in each game – that is our main goal. After winning this game, we are surely looking forward to winning another game; hopefully, the next game. We had nothing to lose coming into this game and the whole series, so that gives us a great cushion and the freedom to play to our potential and a fearless brand of cricket.”

Rahim added 60 runs for the third wicket with Soumya Sarkar, before striking four consecutive boundaries off Khaleel Ahmed in the 19th over to seize the game. The wicket-keeper batter was pleased that the chase went according to the plan.

“When me and Soumya batted, we thought if one of us can stay till the 19th over, we can close the game,” he said. “We just needed one big over, maybe 16 or 20 runs off it, and if there’s a set batsman out there, that becomes quite easy. We had planned to go for an all-out attack in the last three overs, and I thought that 18th over was very crucial because Chahal is their main bowler in these conditions and we needed a few boundaries there and in the 19th. So I thought it all went the way we had planned.”

Bangladesh bowled with great discipline after putting India in to bat and had them reduced to 120/6 in the 19th over, However, a late blitz by all-rounders Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya lifted them to 148/6 after 20 overs. Mushfiqur identified death bowling as one of the areas to improve in the coming games.

“We won, but there are a couple of areas we can improve in. In the last two overs, we gave away a couple of easy boundaries to them. We also need to close well with the ball. If we improve in those areas and play much better than what we did tonight, then I think there is nothing impossible in the next game. We will try our level best to compete against India.”

Bangladesh have come close to winning against India in T20Is in the past, but have failed to cross the finishing line on each occasion, perhaps none more dramatic than the super 10 fixture of the ICC Men’s World T20 2016, where they needed two off three, but lost back-to-back wickets to eventually fall short by one run. Rahim, who was a part of that finish, was pleased to be on the winning side this time around.

“It can happen to anyone, and when you have a career of 10-15 years, you can have such matches. We’ve also stayed there till the end and closed out games, and so that also adds to the confidence. In the last over, we just needed four runs, and I thought we were cruising. I had a chat with Mahmudullah to make sure and get some ones and twos because there was a lot of space on the on side.

“As long as you’re learning from the mistakes, that’s the most important part. After that incident, I’ve been able to close the game on three-four occasions for Bangladesh in both T20Is and ODIs, so that gives me a lot of confidence.”

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