There was a time a couple of years back when Bangladesh did all the hard work against an opposition only to fall short in the latter stages of a game owing to a lack of experience and self belief.
The first ODI against Afghanistan in Mirpur on Sunday was perhaps a repeat of the previous times but this time around, the Tigers gave a better account of themselves, eventually winning the game by seven runs. Roles were reversed as it was the visitors who couldn't capitalise on their good start and fell short at the end due to a lack of confidence and composure.
At one stage in their pursuit of 266, Afghanistan were cruising thanks to Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi's 144-run stand for the third wicket. The foundation was laid as the Afghans required 77 runs from their last 10 overs with as many as eight wickets to spare.
Any experienced side in world cricket would have surely cashed in on the situation but it was Bangladesh who snatched the game from the visitors' grasp. The Tigers remained calm and managed a narrow win, courtesy some fine death over bowling from the returning Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain and Shakib al Hasan.
And according to Mahmudullah, who scored 62 off 74 balls with the help of five fours and two sixes on Sunday, all the signs are there that the Tigers are slowly emerging into a top side in international cricket.
“I think yes, honestly, we lost a few close games in the past as we were not able to win for some small mistakes. Eventually we went on to lose the games which we should have won. So I think the change has come slowly and gradually. We have started to change our mindset,” Mahmudullah told the media on Monday following a rain-affected training session at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
“I hope that we can continue this habit and play some good cricket in the coming days.”
However, the 30-year old admitted that there were some errors on the field from the home side but it was only because they returned to the ODI circuit following a 10-month hiatus.
He said they would be looking to improve their displays, especially ground fielding, with the second ODI scheduled to be held tomorrow at the home of cricket.
Mahmudullah, who plays the role of a finisher in T20Is these days, has developed a few strokes in his new and different role in ODIs as he bats at number four. The stylish right hander said he tried to remain positive and attacking till the finish, despite the fall of regular wickets at the other end.
“It was on my mind. I tried to remain attacking and play positive cricket as I was set at that time. But it would have been better if were more alert. I could have scored some more runs as I had a good partnership with Shakib at that time,” he added.