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Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain decided that they had to attack when West Indies’ Fabian Allen came on to deliver the 22nd over, in the final of tri-nation series on Friday. Bangladesh were chasing a revised target of 210 in 24 overs in a rain-curtailed match, and when they needed 27 to win from 18 balls, they saw Allen come back into the attack.
Mosaddek had already struck two sixes and a four by then during his 26 off 15, although Mahmudullah, the designated big-hitter for Bangladesh, had been on 15 off 19 balls. With a title on the line and having not won one in international cricket, the pair knew Allen’s left-arm spin – largely bereft of variations – was their chance to push West Indies back.
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Mosaddek hammered three sixes and a four on the first four balls of the over that cost West Indies 25 runs and the match was all but over, with Mosaddek finishing on a 24-ball 52, having struck the fastest ODI half-century for Bangladesh. After the match, Mosaddek said that they knew there were batsmen capable of hitting sixes waiting in the dressing room but since they were the last remaining specialist batsmen, it was their responsibility to take Bangladesh home.
“With 27 needed from the last three overs, we targeted that [Allen] over,” Mosaddek said. “We wanted to keep ourselves ahead by using this over. [Mohammad] Saifuddin, [Mehidy Hasan] Miraz and Mashrafe [Mortaza] were there after me. Mashrafe bhai can play the big shots. Our plan was to bat till the end. I think everyone understood that we had done the job after that over. It was the turning point.”
A turning point it could also be for Bangladesh and Mosaddek himself. With a World Cup coming up, and hosts England having already set a benchmark for big scores, Bangladesh seemed to have been lagging behind on that front, despite winning quite regularly since 2015. Their lack of a big-hitter down the order has often made the difference between a 320-plus score, and a middling 280.
With Soumya Sarkar giving them good starts – he scored three consecutive fifties – in this tri-series, and now Mosaddek also revealing himself as a lower-order big-hitter, it potentially adds a missing piece to Bangladesh’s puzzle.
Before Friday, Mosaddek had made only one ODI fifty in 21 innings, but with his quickfire half-century in the final, he made a strong case for the No. 7 position when Bangladesh take on South Africa in their World Cup opener on June 2. He has never had a reputation for six-hitting, but has been regarded as one for the future since his breakout season in the Dhaka Premier League six years ago.
“I had to play positive cricket in that tough situation. I tried to play to the merit of the ball,” Mosaddek said of his willingness to bat with similar aggression in the future. “I think we will be playing on better wickets in England. I will try to play these knocks from down the order, which would be helpful to win games.”
Mosaddek added that during the 10-minute innings break, the senior players told the rest of the team that if they simply bore in mind their confidence from the previous three matches, they had a good chance of chasing down the target.
“After we returned from fielding, Mashrafe bhai and the rest said that we have the batting ability, as we have shown in the tri-series, we would be able to chase down this target if we bat till the end.”
Mosaddek signed off underscoring that winning their first title was important but the four wins in a row will play a bigger part in their preparation for the World Cup. “It is pleasing to win a final, especially against a good opponent. It is a big thing for us with the World Cup’s preparations in mind,” Mosaddek said.