Ire vs Ban – Tamim Iqbal is happy with Bangladesh’s new ability to win out of tricky situations

Tamim Iqbal is pleased with the “tough cricket” Bangladesh played in their 2-0 ODI series victory over Ireland at Chelmsford.

After the washout in the first ODI, Bangladesh chased 320 in a rain-limited 45 overs-a-side second ODI and then their bowlers rallied in the last nine overs to keep Ireland at bay in the third match. In both matches, Bangladesh were in the kind of positions they often couldn’t turn around in the past.

“I thought we played really tough cricket all through the series,” said Tamim. “Chasing 320 in 45 overs, no matter the size of the field or the opposition, is a tough task. The way we batted was great. Today is a very special match for me. We always have these kinds of situations on the other side We lost from such winning positions especially with the ball.”

Tamim took calls that paid off in Sunday’s turnaround. With Ireland needing 52 with seven wickets in hand in the last nine overs, he handed the ball to part-time bowler Najmul Hossain Shanto. The offspinner, imitating Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s bowling action, had Harry Tector caught deep in the midwicket to break the 79-run tie with Lorcan Tucker. Tamim then opted to bowl out Mustafizur Rahman against the 47th over rather than save him before the end and the left arm pacer took a wicket in each of the 43rd, 45th and 47th overs to finish with a four- for. Ireland were smothered when it mattered before Hasan Mahmud bowled down a stunning final to give Bangladesh victory.

“The bowling unit will get an incredible amount of confidence from this win. It wasn’t easy defending 274 on this ground. I thought we did a great job,” said Tamim. “Miraz’s bowling inspired me to take a chance with Shanto. He took a wicket in the first over and so I went with him. The match turned upside down in his three overs and Mustafizur’s overs.”

At crucial moments in the series, Shanto and Mahmud, both among the younger players in the line-up, stepped in for Bangladesh. Shanto was named Player of the Series for his return of 196 runs, including his maiden ODI century, and match-turning wicket in the final match. Mahmud, meanwhile, kept his composure in the last over of the third game with nine to defend, while also bowling astute opening spells in the series.

“[Shanto] has played really well in the last two or three series,” said Tamim. “He scores quite regularly, which is great for us. We could never capture the number 3 position, but I think he cemented his place [by] not only scoring points, but also the way he fields. He gives himself 100% everywhere. He’s a great team man.

“[Mahmud] has been impressive. He is world class, especially with the new ball. He is a very young fellow, but has an old head. He is calm under pressure. It’s a great learning experience for him. You can throw thousands of balls into the nets, but performing under this pressure is something else.”

But there is a lot of room for improvement for Bangladesh.

“I think we should have hit a little better, especially in a situation like today’s game,” said Tamim. “We hit six [runs] an over in the first 25 overs. We should have scored 310-315. We play without [extra] seizure. We should all have taken a little more responsibility.

“I’m overall happy with this series. We successfully chased 320. We didn’t defend games like today [in the past] but did it here. There are more pluses than minuses.”

Tamim felt Sunday’s win was down to an all-round performance from Bangladesh. The two debutants, Rony Talukdar and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, did not have an impressive performance but did well. Talukdar was sent to open but struggled for 4 balls off 14. Chowdhury bowled eight wicketless overs for 64, including a 21-run 37th over that looked to turn the tide in Ireland’s favour. But they took good catches and made many deep rescues.

“Mrittunjoy didn’t bowl from an easy end,” said Tamim. “An inch long here and there would be a six. He bowled really well. He knows he can do better. Contributions from everyone made the win possible today. We didn’t think we would win the game. A bit of genius changed the game.”