The build-up to Bangladesh's opening Super 10 fixture against Pakistan was intense and to some extent exciting. Kolkata turned into Little Dhaka with the arrival of so many Bangladeshi fans. The famous Park Street and New Market were abuzz with so many people sporting shirts of their national team. It also led to a sharp rise in hotel fair. The Peerless Inn, which is not far away from Eden Gardens, actually charged five times of its normal room rent.
The mood before the game was vibrant and most of the locals we have come across on our way to the venue gave an impression that they would be rooting for the Tigers. But once you were in and the game had started, you would have felt a bit betrayed. Apart from a few thousand Bangladeshi supporters, the half-packed Eden audience rooted for quality batsmanship and to some extent for Pakistan, just to prove that Shahid Afridi was spot on when he made his now-infamour 'more loved in India' comment. For Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza it was deceiving in every aspect. When he looked at the green wicket he thought it would help his bowlers.
“When I saw the green wicket I thought it will help our fast bowlers. But I was proved completely wrong. It was a good wicket to bat on and the Pakistani openers used it very well. I think 200 is s big score to chase”, said Mashrafe at the post-match briefing, adding that they dropped Mustafizur Rahman at the last moment due to fitness issues.
“Mustafizur was very close [to playing the game]. But we could not include him at the last moment. We desperately wanted him to play because it was a crucial game for us. May be we did not want to risk him. Maybe we will be able to play him in the next game,” said the Bangladesh captain.
He said that it would have been easier for his batsmen to chase something like 170.
“He [Afridi] played well and he deserves credit for that,” said Mashrafe while responding to a question of how important Afridi's 19-ball 49 was.
He also refused to blame his batsmen for failing to chase down that big total on a very good batting pitch despite admitting that a defeat by 55 runs was too big for comfort.
“We were not up to the mark in batting and bowling. But I must say it was very tough to chase down 200. We were doing well when Sabbir was in the middle. But once he was out we lost the momentum against a Pakistan attack that has two very good bowlers in Amir and Irfan. I think this is a tough group. Every team is capable of scoring 200 runs. So, we need to understand that reality before our next game,” said the Bangladesh skipper. Bangladesh will play Australia at the Chinnaswami Stadium in Chennai on March 21.
He said that his team needs to adjust to the conditions quickly to take up the challenge in a group where all their opponents are capable of winning the title.
Source : thedailystar