London, June 3 (IANS) Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza heaped praises on his team’s all-round performance which saw them defeat South Africa by 21 runs in their World Cup tie at the Kennington Oval on Sunday.
“The first match always sets the tone. We have been positive, won in Ireland and the momentum helped us set the tone here,” said Mortaza at the post-match presentation ceremony.
A wonderful batting display led by the experienced duo of Shakib Al Hasan (75) and Mushfiqur Rahim (78), supported by eye-catching cameos from Soumya Sarkar (42) and Mahmudullah (46), helped Bangladesh post 330/6 after being asked to bat by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis. The bowlers then struck regularly to keep South Africa to 309/8.
“After the toss, I had a doubt whether to bat or to bowl first. But it was a used wicket in the last match and we thought that batting first isn’t a bad option,” said the Bangladesh skipper.
“The batsmen batted really well, especially Soumya (Sarkar) at the start. Mushy (Rahim) batted really well; he plays these kind of innings with high strike-rates, so did Shakib and then Mahmudullah and Mosaddek finished it really well. But I have to give credit to Soumya for laying the platform. I knew it was a good wicket to bat on and we knew that we had to bowl in the right areas to get wickets,” he added.
He also heaped praises on his bowlers who kept chipping in with regular breakthroughs and never allowed the Proteas batsmen to flourish.
“I kept changing the bowlers and the good thing was that we got wickets at every stage. The spinners bowled really well and then set it up for Fizz (Mustafizur) and Saifuddin,” stated Mortaza.
Meanwhile, Shakib, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, rated Sunday’s win as one of Bangladesh’s top victories.
“I think this is one of our top wins. We have had a few upsets before in World Cup, but this time we want to prove and the start can’t get any better,” said Shakib.
“Before arriving here, we had the belief, we needed this start and we need to build on the momentum… We played the 2017 Champions trophy and we had a fair idea about how the wickets behave, knew it would be good for batting,” he added.
The No. 1 ODI all-rounder further said that the team is feeling extremely confident and will be looking to come out with another good performance when they take on New Zealand on Wednesday.