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Matured Mushfiq keeps calm to bury Bangalore memories

  • Published at 09:17 am March 11th, 2018
Matured Mushfiq keeps calm to bury Bangalore memories
March 23, 2016 - Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, along with all-rounder Mahmudullah, featured in headlines around the globe for snatching defeat from the verge of victory against India in a last-ball World T20 thriller in Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mushfiq and Mahmudullah were at the middle when, the Tigers, chasing 147 runs, needed 11 off the last over. Mushfiq had hit boundaries off Indian seamer Hardik Pandya off the second and third balls of the over to reduce the target to two from three balls before a series of horrors hit Bangladesh. Mushfiq and Mahmudullah in pretty similar fashion were caught in the deep after failed attempts at glory. All-rounder Shuvagata Hom failed to connect the final delivery, allowing MS Dhoni to scamper through and effect a run out. This had sparked wild celebrations from the men in blue and its home crowd. However, back in the Bangladesh dressing room and back home in the cricket-mad country, the scenarios were different. Both Mushfiq and Mahmudullah had a faced a difficult life till the Bangladesh supporters could recover from the shock. Fast forward to the present; only 12 days short of two years from the shocking defeat, Mushfiq is the topic of discussion around the globe, and particularly among the cricket-obsessed Tigers fans, but for all the right reasons. The diminutive batsman's heroics overwhelmed Sri Lanka in what was a Nidahas T20I tri-nation series epic clinched in memorable manner by Bangladesh. The Tigers chasing 215 runs, got to the shore with five wickets in hand and two balls to spare as Mushfiq registered his career-best knock in the format - a flawless unbeaten 35-ball 72 involving five boundaries and four over boundaries. The win not only kept alive Bangladesh's chance of reaching the final of the tri-series also involving India, it has also come as a tonic to the Tigers who have been dealing with the pain of a series of defeats in the recent past. Bangladesh had arrived to the island with the hope of recovering from its recent run but was denied a winning start by India Thursday at the same venue. However, the Tigers regrouped from the defeat within 48 hours and engineered a gem, riding on a combined batting effort. Bangladesh on the day had produced their highest successful chase in the format, the fourth highest successful chase in all-time T20Is and the highest successful T20I chase on Sri Lanka soil by any team. Opener Tamim Iqbal, who set up the perfect platform getting Bangladesh off to a fiery start alongside Liton Das, said Mushfiq must have learned from the Bangalore heartbreak as the Tigers recorded a historic win against the Lankans. The left-handed batsman, who added 47 off 29 balls in the Bangladesh chase, opined that former Bangladesh captain Mushfiq should be praised for his winning effort as much as he was criticised two years back for the India defeat. "The guy (Mushfiq), who made the mistake in Bangalore, he didn't do it (Saturday). I always feel that there's a lot to learn from a good game or a bad game. The amount of criticism Mushfiq copped that day (in 2016), I think he should be praised the same amount. He handled it very well," said an elated Tamim to the media following Bangladesh's win. Mushfiq was brilliant both against the spin and pace on a flat R Premadasa track that produced a match total of 429 runs in 238 balls, at a shade under 11 runs per over. When Mushfiq got to the middle Bangladesh needed 115 off 63 deliveries with eight wickets in hand. The right-handed batsman throughout the innings had taken measured risks earlier in every over. In the last four overs, the Tigers, desperate for a win, required 40 runs for glory. There was a slight hiccup when stand-in T20I captain Mahmudullah and middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman departed, leaving Bangladesh reeling on 197 for the loss of five wickets in 18.2 overs. But an ever determined Mushfiq, struggling from cramps while running between the wickets, stayed true to his determination. In the last eight balls of the chase, Bangladesh needed 16 runs and Mushfiq knew the job totally depended on him with an inexperienced Mehedi Hasan Miraz at the other end of the crease. Under such situation, Mushfiq was gifted with a juicy full toss by Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Pradeep which begged to be hit to the stands. And Mushfiq duly complied. Going into the last over, Bangladesh needed nine runs and Mushfiq was a picture of patience with Thisara Perera on the attack. Off the first ball, Mushfiq scored two runs while the second was sent to the boundary. The third ball went for two runs as the score was levelled. And with two balls to spare in the over, Mushfiq took the winning single, limping, as his joyous teammates ran onto the middle to embrace the brave Bangladesh hero.
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