Skipper Mortaza proud of his players


Skipper Mortaza proud of his players
Bangladesh players celebrate after dsimissing Rayudu.

Dubai - Bangladesh's record in knockout clashes doesn't make for a happy reading

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 29 Sep 2018, 10:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Sep 2018, 1:01 AM

Another final and another defeat, it definitely must have hurt Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh's long-standing captain, but the 34-year-old said that his men should be proud of what they have done and urged them to carry on in the same vein.
Bangladesh had a lot going against them, not least the injuries to their key men - opener and batting mainstay Tamim Iqbal and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan - book-ending the tournament. But the Bangla Tigers drew strength from adversity to plough their way to the title tilt against heavyweights India. And they showed enough gumption to punch in the same weight putting the Indians under the pump in the final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
But inexperience told in the end as they imploded after a blistering start and then allowed India to resuscitate themselves after being flat-lined. The defeat off the last ball of the match was painful but Mortaza saw a silver lining amidst it all and said that there will be better days. "The boys should feel proud," said Mortaza. "I think we have to learn so many things. We are struggling somewhere or the other in these tournaments. Today (Friday), we made a good start but couldn't go through. In the last few matches, we lost early wickets but managed to score 240-250. I think they did a good job without two key members. Missing Shakib and Tamim was a big blow but I think boys have done a really good job. I think the bowlers did a good job in the tournament.
"We are proud but we have to move forward. The positives depend on the individuals. I think losing to India twice was something that I didn't desire. When Shakib and Tamim are back, the team will do well in the future if we can hold on to this spirit," he added.
Bangladesh's record in knockout clashes doesn't make for a happy reading with them having lost five of them to India alone. Bangladesh went down to India in the World Cup quarterfinal in 2015, the Asia Cup final in 2016, the Champions Trophy semifinal last year, the Nidahas Trophy final this year and now the Asia Cup. Bangladesh had also lost to Pakistan in the Asia Cup on home soil in 2012, meaning they still remain the bridesmaid despite three final appearances in four editions.
They have done the hard work but haven't had the results to show for it. Mortaza, who has captained Bangladesh in 64 matches since 2010, made a left-field decision to send 20-year-old off-spinner Mehidy Hasan to open with Liton Das. The plan seemed to have worked and seemed to have thrown India off the rails but they couldn't see it through all the way.
"Actually, we thought that we weren't clicking in the top-order in the whole tournament. We wanted to keep Soumya (Sarkar) and send Mehidy to open, so that at least we have seven solid batters later on," he said. "The last ball wasn't the problem. We could have scored 280 or more than 300 easily had we capitalised on our start. We can't blame the bowlers against a batting order like India. They could have easily chased it down. I will back my bowlers because they tried hard," added Mortaza.

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