It was a fantastic display of cricket from Bangladesh recovering bravely from a batting collapse against New Zealand in the 2017 Champions Trophy to eventually chase down the target of 266 runs, courtesy twin hundreds by Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah, at Sophia Gardens on Friday.
With the Tigers batting on 33/4, Shakib was joined by Mahmudullah at the crease as they added a record 224 for the fifth wicket partnership to guide their side to the destination with five wickets and 16 deliveries to spare. This is the Tigers' highest partnership for any wicket in ODIs and second best stand in the history of the Champions Trophy.
Following the game New Zealand captain Kane Williamson termed this Bangladesh side a talented unit and credited Shakib and Mahmudullah for their heroics, rather than blame themselves for their mistakes which saw them exit the tournament in the group stage.
“I suppose after the start that we had with the ball, we thought, 265 was going to be enough. Saying that; at the halfway stage on that surface, we knew if we bowled well, we could make life quite difficult. Saying that; we would have liked a few more. I thought closer to 300 would have been a much better total, one that was achievable, certainly the position we were in,” Williamson told the media during the post-match conference.
“But it wasn't to be. In the past, we have defended totals like that on these sorts of surfaces, and we were in a pretty good position to do it again but what a fantastic partnership. Two very talented players, very experienced players, and it came together [Friday] and to get a 200-plus partnership under pressure was simply superb, but frustrating to be on the other side of it,” he said.
The Kiwis did get off to a nice start but Williamson said the Bangladesh bowlers staged a good comeback by consistently keeping a lid on the run rate.
“I think the Bangladesh side bowled well, as well. There's a number of factors. It wasn't through lack of effort. But we certainly didn't play our best cricket. We were in a position of strength with the bat, and if things were to go our way, we know we have a lot of power in that middle-, lower-order. They are very talented. Such a short tournament, you want everyone firing, and it wasn't to be. We left a few runs out there,” Williamson explained.
It was the same Bangladesh side who lost 3-0 in the ODI series earlier this year in New Zealand. However, Williamson said they never find it an easy proposition facing the Tigers.
“We saw at home that they were able to put us under pressure pretty much in every game that we played. But I suppose we showed some strength towards the back end and there were some similar signs again [Friday] but they (Bangladesh) showed their class. The middle-order, the experience that they have in their middle-order, and the talent that they have, as well, meant that if it came together, we knew that they could beat anyone. And they are showing that more consistently nowadays, that's for sure,” said the 26-year old.
“So back home, yes, it appeared one-sided perhaps. We had a number of wins, but we knew that every game was very, very competitive. When you come off - when you come into these one-off matches, everyone's a threat. Everyone has the talent. And certainly Bangladesh, they outplayed us, that's for sure,” he added.