Shakib: ‘Happy with the way I contributed, it wasn’t an easy wicket’


In his first two matches at the T20 World Cup, he was knocked off for 8 and 3. But in a vital group fixture against Netherlands, he broke the 19-match streak without a half-century with an unbeaten 46-ball 64 that helped Bangladesh post 159, which proved to be 25 too many for Netherlands. This puts Bangladesh in an excellent position to make the Super Eights going into their final league fixture against Nepal on Monday.

“It was important for someone from the top four to bat throughout the innings,” Shakib said after being named Player of the match. “Happy with the way I contributed. It wasn’t an easy wicket [to bat on] but we held our nerves and put on a decent total.”

Shakib walked into bat with Bangladesh in trouble at 23 for 2 but looked in sparkling form right from the outset. His counterattack along with Tanzid Hasan, with whom he added 48 in just 32 balls, caught Netherlands briefly off guard.

The acceleration gave Bangladesh a little bit of breathing space on a surface that slowed down considerably as the match progressed. It set up cameos from Mahmudullah and Jaker Ali as Bangladesh made 54 off the last five overs.

Shakib admitted assessing the surface wasn’t easy considering this was the first T20I at the venue in over 10 years. Shakib himself has had some experience of playing here, having featured in Bangladesh’s first-ever Test win overseas, back in 2009.

While that may have elicited happy memories, it’s unlikely they could’ve drawn upon something from that experience. “There’s hardly been an international game here in the last four-five years, so we didn’t know what a good score was,” Shakib explained.

“We had to keep wickets in hand to see where we would be after 14-15 overs and then see how far we go. Our total [159] was decent, in a World Cup can it’s always tricky to chase. I won’t say it was a winning total, but it was a challenging total.”

Netherlands were in the hunt for the first 14 overs of the chase. After losing openers Michael Levitt and Max O’Dowd inside the powerplay, they accelerated courtesy Vikramjit Singh and Sybrand Engelbrecht. Then with Scott Edwards coming in and picking off runs against spin, especially towards the shorter leg-side boundary with the breeze, they brought down the equation to 56 runs needed off 36 balls.

It’s at this point that legspinner Rishad Hossain turned the game around by picking up Engelbrecht and Bas de Leede in the space of three deliveries to turn the game around. He would finish with figures of 3 for 33 to take his wickets tally to seven in the competition, just two behind the leader, Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi.

“They [Netherlands] had their moments,” Shakib said. “In the 12th over, they were close to 90 for 3. Ten an over from there on this wicket with the wind going one way, it wasn’t easy to restrict them but credit to our bowlers for the way they held their nerve.”

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