Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza praised the superb innings by South Africa's AB de Villiers as he made all the difference the between two sides in the second and penultimate ODI at Boland Park. De Villiers smashed 174 runs off just 104 balls to take the game away from Bangladesh during the first innings.
When De Villiers came out to bat, the Proteas lost two wickets in quick succession as all-rounder Shakib al Hasan removed Quinton de Kock (46) and captain Faf du Plessis (nought). But soon, De Villiers took control of the game and struck a beautiful century in just 68 balls. The right-hander was more attacking after crossing his 25th ODI hundred as his following 76 runs came within 35 balls.
Bangladesh were technically in the match when opener Imrul Kayes and wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim was batting and the scoreboard at one stage read 162 for the loss of two wickets in the 29th over. A destructive innings similar to that of De Villiers could have taken Bangladesh closer to the target from that position. When asked if Bangladesh lack power-hitter at the end of an innings, Mashrafe said every team in the world lack a batsman like De Villiers as he is that unique.
“Every team lack an AB de Villiers. He can destroy any bowling attack on his day. Shakib brought us back a little bit after taking two wickets. If we could get the wicket of AB then it could have been a different story. AB played these type of innings a few times in his career. As a bowler anything less than 100%, he is going to pounce on you. If we could have removed him early, we may as well have won the game,” said Mashrafe during the post-match press conference.
“If he got out at 100, we could have still been in the game. The next 76 runs made a lot of difference. He can destroy any team on his day. There were a few chances here and there but it wasn’t our day. Hopefully we will bounce back,” he added.
Mashrafe believes Bangladesh were in the game when Imrul and Mushfiq were batting. The third wicket pair formed a 93-run partnership maintaining a good run rate. But Bangladesh lost the plot after two important dismissals in the middle period.
“This was a do-or-die match for us but we were pushed back by Tamim’s [Iqbal] dismissal. We were positive, scoring at six an over when Mushfiq and Imrul were batting together. We could have had a good platform for the last 10-15 overs. But Imran Tahir’s two wickets in the middle changed the course of the game.”
Shakib took two wickets in an over and seamer Rubel Hossain took four wickets in the innings. But Mashrafe is of the opinion that the Tigers did not perform as a team and that they need to improve their performance as a group to produce favourable results in future.
“We haven’t performed as a group. There were some individual performances. I think if we can perform as a group, it will make a difference," he explained.
“We haven’t bowled well as a group, which makes it hard to stop a team from scoring 300 runs. Rubel and Shakib bowled well but we didn’t bowl well as a group.
“I think we need a lot of practise but if you talk about [Wednesday's] game, it belonged to AB de Villiers totally. Another batsman wouldn’t have been more destructive with a slight mistake in length. Since the 2017 Champions Trophy, we have had to work on a lot of things in these conditions. It has to be worked on during the off-season, not during a series. If we keep avoiding that work, we will have to struggle in these tours," he concluded.