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Cricket World Cup 2019

‘I was determined to prove the allegations were wrong’ – Saifuddin

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

While his battling half-century was ultimately in vain, all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin said that he was determined to “prove the allegations against my name were wrong” after a report emerged that he had feigned injury against previous opponents Australia as he was fearful of the World Cup table-toppers.

Bangladesh needed a win against India on Tuesday (July 2) to keep their campaign alive. They ended up short of India’s 314-9 but not before pushing their formidable opponents, as India won by 28 runs.

That Bangladesh came so close to overhauling India’s total was down to a late rearguard half-century from Saifuddin. The left-handed batsman pinged the boundary with unrelenting frequency to keep India’s bowlers on their toes. In the end, he was left stranded on 51* off 38 balls.

“A few days ago, there was a negative news that I used an injury as an excuse to get out of a match against a big team,” Saifuddin said. “So, I was thinking that I would become a hero by winning a match against a big team. When I took the field against India, from the first ball to the last, I was determined to win the match, so that I could prove the allegations against my name were wrong. Unfortunately, that did not happen.”

After his team’s exit from the 2019 World Cup, Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes heaped praise on the side for the quality of cricket they produced and hoped they would be remembered as the “people’s team” for the fight they showed against the competition’s top sides.

Bangladesh have played some spirited cricket, beating South Africa and Afghanistan, and hammering West Indies in a record chase of 322 – Bangladesh’s highest in ODIs. And though they fell short against both, they fought extremely hard against high-flying New Zealand and Australia.

“I wish luck to the guys who are in that semi-final, but I wish it was us,” Rhodes said. “I am very proud with the way we played against the big teams. Maybe we will be the people’s team for the amount of fight we have shown.

“I think we did well after that opening blitz by Rohit Sharma. We were very happy at the halfway stage to be chasing that score. It could well have been 370-380, or 400 at one stage. We showed a lot of spirit and fight to come back. We have three victories but we also pushed these big teams throughout the competition.”

Rhodes did concede, however, that Bangladesh made mistakes in the early exchanges. One of those – a dropped catch off Rohit Sharma by Tamim Iqbal, when Rohit was on 9 – cost them dearly as Rohit went on to notch up his fourth century of the World Cup.

“There are a lot of disappointed cricketers and coaches in the dressing room,” Rhodes said. “We were desperate to do well in the competition to take it further. We pushed them, but we made a few early mistakes. I think you need to get out of the blocks really well against a team like India. We were playing catch-up for a lot of the match.”

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