Colombo [Sri Lanka], September 16 (ANI): Following his side's narrow six-run win over India in the final Asia Cup Super Four clash, Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said that beating Men in Blue is huge for them leading up to the ICC Cricket World Cup in India from October 5 onwards and expressed happiness with the depth of his side.
Shubman Gill's thunderous knock of 121 runs and Axar Patel's fighting 42 went in vain as Bangladesh fought back to end their Asia Cup 2023 campaign on a high by beating finalists India in their Asia Cup Super Four 2023 clash here at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday. The match was a dead rubber, with Bangladesh having no chances of qualification further and India having made it to the final. So it was a chance for both the teams to test their bench strength and give game time to youngsters or non-regular players. They rested their first-choice pacers and gave a chance to two top-order batters who were now warming the bench. They also gave an ODI debut to pacer Tanzim Hasan Sakib. Now, these youngsters have a chance in the upcoming white-ball series against New Zealand at home to strengthen their case for a spot in the World Cup team.
Out of a total of 266 runs, the lower order consisting of Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan and Tanzim contributed a total of 87 runs. Skipper Shakib al Hasan and Towhid Hridoy got half-centuries and took their side out of a top-order collapse. After their dismissals, Bangladesh was left staring at another collapse but the lower order played a total of 110 balls and saved their side from embarrassment.
With the ball, Nasum, Mahedi and Tanzim took four wickets in 26.5 overs and had a run-rate of 4.91. The all-round show of Nasum and Tanzim, who are not recognised as all-rounders, came really handy.
"Beating India is huge for us to go into the World Cup," head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
"We go with a lot of confidence, especially with what happened in this tournament. We had a really good run up to the Asia Cup but in this tournament, we struggled to put on a collective effort. I am not giving excuses, but we played in different conditions like Kandy, Lahore and Colombo. We had some injuries at crucial times. The pleasing thing for me is the depth of our other players. We could give three guys the opportunity to showcase their talent and what they are capable of, thinking of the World Cup selection. It gives us a really good depth to select the 15 players," he added.
The coach praised Mahedi, who was dropped after the first game against Sri Lanka in the tournament and has been struggling to cement his spot as a genuine all-rounder in the playing XI.
"Overall as a cricketer, I was very impressed with his attitude and demeanour on the field. I did not see him much before, but he is so confident when he is bowling. He bowled some big overs in this game. He got us back into the game with Shubman Gill's wicket," Hathurusingha said.
Tanzim, who took two wickets, surprised everyone and increased his chances of a potential World Cup selection.
"I do not think he did his chances any harm. He actually put his hands up for the World Cup selection. Until now, we were thinking of trying to proceed without any injuries to our four fast bowlers," said Hathurusuinghe.
"As you know Ebadot [Hossain] is not there for the World Cup. I think (Tanzim) showed us what he is capable of. I am pretty confident that if I had to rely on him, he has done well for his chances," he said.
Though Bangladesh has earned a third-spot finish in the Super Four with a win and two losses, not being able to make it to the final will still pain the team. The coach said that the team's batting has issues and an in-form Hridoy has to take his innings deep.
"(Hridoy) is very clear about his role as well as his game at the moment," he said. "He has been scoring runs since he made his ODI and T20I debut. Actually, I am a bit disappointed with him today. He got fifty and threw it away. He could have gone on to put in a more decent score. Overall, he understands his role and his game," he concluded.
Coming to the match, India elected to field first and reduced Bangladesh to 59/4. However, skipper Shakib (80 in 85 balls, with six fours and three sixes) and Hridoy (54 in 81 balls with five fours and two sixes) had a 101-run stand for the fifth wicket. In the lower order, Nasum Ahmed (44 in 45 balls, with six fours and a six), Mahedi Hasan (29 in 23 balls with three fours) and Tanzim (14 in eight balls) took Bangladesh to a competitive 265/8 in 50 overs.
Shardul Thakur (3/65) and Mohammed Shami (2/32) were the pick of the bowlers for India. Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja and Prasidh Krishna got a wicket each.
In the chase of 266, India was rocked by Tanzim, who removed skipper Rohit Sharma and ODI debutant Tilak Varma (5) for single-digit scores. Shubman Gill (121 in 133 balls, with eight fours and five sixes) was the lone warrior for India for the most part, stitching useful stands with KL Rahul (19) and Suryakumar Yadav (26). However, India still looked short. Axar Patel (42 in 34 balls with three fours and two sixes) fought for India and took his side close, but got out, leaving India short of six runs of a win.
Mustafizur Rahman (3/50) was the pick of the bowlers for Bangladesh, while Tanzim (2/32), and Mahedi (2/50) also got two wickets. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Shakib got one wicket each.
Shakib got the 'Player of the Match' award. (ANI)