Mortaza optimistic after 'phenomenal' win over New Zealand

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza believes his side can face the future with renewed confidence even if it is denied a semifinal place at the Champions Trophy.

Bangladesh's Mashrafe Mortaza believes the performance against New Zealand will hold the team in good stead for the future, whatever the result of the game between Australia and England turn out to be.   -  Reuters


Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza believes his side can face the future with renewed confidence even if it is denied a semifinal place at the Champions Trophy.

The Tigers gave themselves a shot at a last four spot with a stunning five-wicket win over New Zealand in Cardiff on Friday.

Match Report

Bangladesh collapsed to 12 for three and was facing a humiliating loss at 33 for four in the 12th over. But Shakib Al Hasan (114) and Mahmudullah (102 not out) responded to the pressure of a dire position in a must-win game with a brilliant new Bangladesh record partnership of 224 that turned the match upside down and eventually saw New Zealand eliminated.

Bangladesh still needs already-qualified England to beat Australia in the final Group A match at Edgbaston on Saturday, or for the fixture to be a washed out no result, to go through to the last four of an event featuring the world's top eight one-day international teams.

"That will be nice (if England win), but we can't just expect Australia to lose that game," Mortaza told reporters. "I would like to say the best of luck to both teams, because whatever we could do we did. That is most important for us."

The paceman added: "Obviously, I would like to go to the semis and if we do we will hopefully play better cricket than in the last three matches. We have to wait now, but in the last three years we have kept improving a lot.

"This sort of performance really help us to move forward, especially with the 2019 World Cup (in England) coming up. It will really boost the team."

'Simply superb'

Bangladesh, making its first appearance at the Champions Trophy in 11 years, saw star batsman Tamim Iqbal out for a second-ball duck as they chased a seemingly modest target of 266.

"We thought 266 was gettable, but after 33 for four it becomes very hard," Mortaza said.

"Once the partnership got to a hundred I knew those two could make a difference. They've done it a lot of other times, but it was phenomenal to get a 200 partnership.

"We know Tamim cannot get a score every time, but we have got some excellent players who can win games," he added, after Bangladesh enjoyed another memorable win in Cardiff to follow its colossal upset ODI victory over Australia in the Welsh capital back in 2005.

New Zealand was on course to set a challenging total at 152 for two in the 30th over. But when captain Kane Williamson (57) and Ross Taylor (63) fell in quick succession after putting on 83, the Black Caps suffered an all-too familar collapse.

"With the position we were in, closer to 300 would have been a much better total," said Williamson.

"But after the start we had with the ball we thought 265 was going to be enough. But to get a 200-plus partnership under that pressure was simply superb from Bangladesh."

Just two years ago, at the last ICC 50-over competition, New Zealand reached the final of the 2015 World Cup.

But this tournament saw the team leave without a win, having lost to both England and Bangladesh in Cardiff after its match against Australia was washed out.

"You want to come here firing and playing the best cricket," Williamson said.

"We showed some signs of that against Australia, but we certainly haven't seen that in our last two games in Cardiff. We've got to use this experience to be better as a unit and as individuals, because you are going to be put under pressure in these tournaments."

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