Mushfiqur Optimistic After Putting Rocky Phase Behind
Bangladesh’s Super 12 campaign may have gotten off to a rocky start, but Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a crucial half-century did give the team a few positives to walk away with. Rahim’s ICC T20 World Cup 2021 scores prior to the game against Sri Lanka read 38, 6 and 5. Bangladesh, having been put in in Sharjah, were 56 for 2 when Rahim joined Mohammad Naim to resurrect the innings after two quick strikes.
The pair made 73 off 51 to lift Bangladesh to a competitive score of 171, before Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa scripted a stellar chase. While Naim was the rock with 62 off 52, Rahim was the enforcer who ensured Bangladesh had a strong finish. Rahim, over the years, has ensured he’s one of the first names in the team sheet. However, the pressure has been building on the experienced pro.
His last half-century was against India in 2019 in Delhi and since then he has crossed the 20-run mark just thrice in nine innings. There have been five single-digit scores in between and his poor run against Papua New Guinea and Oman only compounded the team’s problems. Rahim stressed that though he couldn’t get runs in the last two matches, the criticism only motivated him to come back stronger.
“It’s right that I wasn’t among runs in the last two matches, but hearing and reading things about me made me feel I haven’t scored runs in the last 5-6 years,” he said. “That motivated me and I wanted to contribute for the team, be it 10, 80 or 100. “The T20 format is such that it is difficult to score runs on a consistent basis when you are playing at No. 4 and 5. At times you walk in in the 17th over so it’s very difficult,” Mushfiqur said.
“I am not like Pollard or Russell who can go and hit right away. I need some time and I have my own strengths and weaknesses so I am trying to improve.” Rahim was under tremendous pressure after the loss against Scotland as Bangladesh were left in a situation where they needed to win both their next games to progress to the Super 12 stage. The former captain was adamant that he was confident his experience will help him tide over the tough times. “There will be a lot of things off the field. As a cricketer, if you do well everyone will clap and if you play bad everyone will abuse you,” he said about the criticism directed at them.
“This is not my first World Cup and I have been watching these things for the last 16 years. And those who blamed us, should look in the mirror as they don’t play for Bangladesh. We are representing our country and will try our best. Some days it clicks and some days it doesn’t.” And while the batting did click for Bangladesh, they were left to rue their fielding mistakes as Sri Lanka came back from being 79 for 4 at one stage and winning the contest by five wickets.
“Actually, there is no point in blaming (anyone). Today the mistake we made was Liton dropping two catches. But he is a great fielder. It was really important at that time as well,” Rahim pointed out. “We have to make sure that one of our batsmen has to do something big. We cannot rely on only one batsman.” Bangladesh now will play England on October 27 and will hope to put the loss against Sri Lanka behind.