Once again it was Shakib al Hasan who came to rescue his side when it was needed badly as his all-round performance with both bat and ball helped the Tigers to snatch a tight seven-run win over Afghanistan in the first ODI in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
The 29-year old first scored a quick 40-ball 48 with the help of three fours at the latter part of their innings and later contributed heavily with the ball, dismissing a set Rahmat Shah.
He came back to bowl a superb 47th over when Afghanistan required 28 runs from the last four overs. He gave away only one run to bring Bangladesh back into the game.
And according to Shakib, it was a crucial moment when he was brought on to bowl in the death overs.
“I think that my over of one run and then the breakthrough that I initiated was very important,” Shakib told the media.
The Tigers looked rusty playing their first ODI in nearly 10 months but Shakib believes they will only get better in the coming days.
“Actually, our job is not to think too much. We had to keep the belief that we could win the game. The belief was there. Because we are playing after almost a year it was a bit difficult. It was shown in the body language. Our fielding wasn’t that good,” said Shakib.
“This will be okay soon. I think it was because we didn’t play for 10-11 months. No matter how much fitness you have, it’s a different aspect as far as match fitness is concerned,” he added.
Shakib reached yet another milestone yesterday, becoming the highest Bangladesh wicket-taker in ODIs. In the process, he emerged as the leading wicket-taker for the Tigers across all three formats.
“It feels good to be the highest wicket-taker. It would have been good if I had scored the highest number of runs across the three formats. But since everyone is doing so well, I am not getting the chance to bat. It feels good but ultimately the focus is how much I can do for the team,” said Shakib.
“If I was the highest run-getter and then the highest wicket-taker, then maybe it would have been a great thing,” Shakib said with his usual trademark style.
When queried to share his thoughts after being adjudged player of the match, Shakib said, “Yes, Mustafizur is not there (laughter). It feels good. Any achievement feels good.
“But the main job is to contribute. If we can contribute like this, it will feel good. No one can be the man of the match just by saying it. You always try to contribute. At the end of the day, if you contribute the most among your teammates, you will win the man of the match award.”