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Cricket World Cup 2019

‘I am feeling sad for Shakib’ – Mashrafe rues not making semi-final

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

After playing his last World Cup match, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said he does not have any regrets on the personal front, but rued the fact that Bangladesh could not back up the outstanding performances of their star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.

Shakib had one of the best tournaments of any player in recent times, doing it all on the field. He finished his tournament with 606 runs and 11 wickets, becoming the first player in World Cup history to complete the double of 500 runs and 10 wickets in a single edition of the tournament.

However, Shakib stood alone in a Bangladesh side, whose tournament was marred by inconsistency and inability to seize the key moments. Despite Shakib’s exploits, Bangladesh finished their tournament with just three wins and Mashrafe expressed his regret at his team not being able to make the semi-final as a way of giving thanks to Shakib’s efforts.

“I have no regrets [for me],” Mashrafe said after Bangladesh’s last match of the tournament, which they lost by 94 runs to Pakistan. “At this moment, I am feeling sad for Shakib, really. The way he played, I think our team deserves to go a little bit further – if I say more clearly, in the semifinal. When a player performs like this, normally that team should play in the semifinal. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen somehow. Maybe we didn’t click at some crucial points in this tournament.”

Bangladesh were largely excellent with the bat. They put up 330 match-winning runs against South Africa, pulled off a record chase of 322 – their highest in ODIs – against West Indies, and put up spirited responses to extremely tall chases against England and Australia.

It is with the ball and on the field that they largely faltered. Bangladesh’s bowlers lacked consistent incision. Mashrafe’s own struggles exemplified that, as he returned one wicket in eight matches and conceded 361 runs in 56 overs.

On the field, too, Bangladesh often let themselves down. They dropped critical catches, as in the game against India, when Tamim Iqbal shelled Rohit Sharma on nine and the batsman responded by notching up his fourth century of the tournament. Their ground fielding, too, wasn’t up to the mark and cost them important runs.

“We missed some catches when we needed to take them, we bowled badly when we needed to bowl well, we didn’t step up in these areas,” Mashrafe said. “Obviously, little things make a huge difference.

“In the bowling, we couldn’t pick up early wickets in the first 10-15 or 20 overs in most of the matches. I should think about this matter personally as I operate in this role. It’s my responsibility.”

Mashrafe will no longer be in charge when Bangladesh return for the next World Cup, in 2023 in India, but wished the rest of the senior core well, and expressed confidence that Bangladesh could raise their game to a level where they could go into the tournament as favourites.

“About the next World Cup, I wish Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiq, Riyadh [Mahmudullah] stay fit and healthy. I hope nothing happens to them. I hope they don’t get injured and they stay with the team,” he said. 

“And because the next World Cup is in India, of course, I won’t say anything about winning the World Cup. There is a matter of luck there. But in India, I think Bangladesh must be taken as favourites.”

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