Mashrafe: I rate this win very highly

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NCL: Mashrafe backs in longer version for Khulna
NCL: Mashrafe backs in longer version for Khulna

Perhaps the win over New Zealand in the 2017 Champions Trophy at Sophia Gardens on Friday will remain one of the biggest victories in the history of Bangladesh cricket after the Tigers fought back bravely from a batting collapse.
At one stage, the Tigers were tottering on 33 runs for the loss of four wickets before Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah added a record 224 for the fifth wicket to guide their side to a five-wicket win and keep alive their semi-final hope.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza however, didn’t think it was possible to win when they lost their fourth wicket early in their chase. He said the belief started to come when Bangladesh crossed 200 before going on to praise Shakib and Mahmudullah in glowing terms.
“To be honest at that time, it was very difficult. But once our score went past 200, the partnership crossed 200, to be honest, I started to believe. Because I knew that these two can make the difference, as they did a lot of times before. But I never thought that they will go beyond the 200-run partnership. That was phenomenal,” Mashrafe told the media during the post-match conference.
Mashrafe said it was no surprise for him to see Shakib and Mahmudullah going strong as they have the ability to play such knocks, which they have done many times in the past.
When queried whether he will be supporting England in their game against Australia on Saturday as a home win would send the Tigers through to the semi-final, Mashrafe informed that an England victory would be nice but wished both teams well.
“Look, yes, that will be nice, but we can’t just ask for Australia to lost that game. It will be nice though. But I would like to say to both teams, best of luck. Whatever we could do, we did. That is the most important thing for us,” he said.
The “Narail Express” remained humble after being asked whether he thinks Bangladesh deserve a place in the semi-finals after this win and said the Tigers have improved a lot as a unit. Mashrafe said they are looking forward to playing better cricket, provided the result of the England-Australia match goes in their favour.
Meanwhile, there were a lot of discussions before this game regarding the dependency on Tamim Iqbal in the Tigers batting line-up but Mashrafe backed his charges, stating that he always trusts his batsmen to produce the goods when the going gets tough.
Mashrafe went on to rate this win as one of the biggest in the history of Bangladesh cricket, especially considering that they came back from a difficult situation, and informed that it will help them to be more confident when they play against the top sides in future.
When queried what this win means for him as a captain as there were many recent talks doing the rounds regarding his captaincy and place in the ODI, Mashrafe said he will continue playing as long as he enjoys the game.
“I am enjoying so I am continuing my cricket. I don’t bother who is saying what as I have been playing for the past 16-17 years by my own. I didn’t even listen to my family. And secondly, being a player I try to contribute whenever I am out on the field, no matter we win or lose. So this is my main focus. I don’t think about my future,” he added.

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