Mushfiqur Rahim

'This innings is in my top five' – Mushfiqur Rahim

Ban v Pak, Asia Cup Super Four Match 6, reaction

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Mushfiqur Rahim narrowly missed out on his second hundred of the Asia Cup 2018, but still rated the 99 against Pakistan in the final Super Four game as among his top five innings, insisting the win mattered more than a milestone.

Rahim, who had made 144 in Bangladesh’s opening game, made another valuable contribution on Wednesday, 27 September in the virtual semi-final against Pakistan. His innings, and 144-run fourth-wicket partnership with Mohammad Mithun, rescued his side from a precarious 12/3.

Bangladesh got to 239, and with Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan picking up six wickets between them, the opposition were kept to 202/9, sealing a 37-run win and a place in the final.

“To be honest, after winning, I am not hurting anymore,” Rahim told presspersons at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi after becoming the first Bangladesh batsman to fall on 99 in one-day internationals. “If I scored a century, and we scored 260 but lost the match, I wouldn’t have felt good. This is not just lip service, but comes from my heart."

Rahim said he had been more upset at not seeing out the innings and giving his team a good finish. “My disappointment [at getting out] was heightened because, as I kept saying after going into the dressing room, as a set batsman I should have batted at least until the 48th over.

If I scored a century, and we scored 260 but lost the match, I wouldn’t have felt good.

"With the bowling quality they have even at the death, it is not easy to hit when you are new to the crease. We barely scored 100 runs in the last 20 overs.”

That the win came in a high-stakes match and without their big guns Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, who were out injured, made it more special, he agreed.

"This [innings] is definitely top five. We needed one partnership badly at that time," he said. "The unavailability of Shakib and Tamim, the fact that we were three down early, it certainly makes it special. Also, Pakistan's attack, their understanding of these conditions, those factors contribute to make it an important win."

Hailing the role of Mithun, who had partnered Rahim in a big stand in that first game as well, the veteran wicket-keeper batsman added, "The wicket was pretty good to bat on and we knew that with the quality Pakistan had with the new ball we might lose a couple of early wickets. But the way we bounced back was important.

"I should credit Mithun as well because the way he batted – he played very well in the first game and was under pressure in the next two games – but the way he backed himself was great from a young cricketer, seeing him play his shots."

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun put together 144 runs for the fourth wicket
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun put together 144 runs for the fourth wicket

A delighted Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, hailed the team’s effort on the field. “We can be proud of our fielding today,” he said at the post-match presentation. “After a long time we have seen this quality of fielding from Bangladesh.

“Hopefully the boys can understand that fielding is very important in any sort of games and can continue. We still need to improve a bit of our batting and bowling in some part.”

We can be proud of our fielding today.

Meanwhile, Sarfraz Ahmed, his Pakistan counterpart, took the blame for the team’s poor showing, which included two losses to India. "As a team, our performance in the tournament has been quite poor. As a captain and as a player, I have not done well too," he said.

"We fell short in all three areas of the game. We didn't field well, our batting collapsed, we couldn't take wickets in the middle-overs … Our batting collapses were the main reasons for our defeat in this tournament."

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