Ban vs Eng 3rd T20I – Shakib Al Hasan credits bowling ‘cushion’ after sealing memorable Banglawash
“Our bowling unit was quite good in this series,” Shakib said. “We never had the luxury of playing with six proper bowlers as we often played with eight batters. We were always a bowler short. In T20s, you need that [bowling] cushion. Bowlers win you T20 matches, so having that extra bowler was helpful. We have a few more areas for tuning, thinking ahead to the next World Cup, but we have made a good start. I think the turning point of the match was that over. They lost both their set batters in successive balls. It proved to be decisive.
“Everyone noticed our fielding in these three matches. We out-fielded England, who are themselves a good fielding side. It is a big tick mark. Our biggest improvement is in our fielding, when I consider every aspect. We should always field well, but we have targeted to become the best fielding side in Asia. After this performance, I don’t think we are too far behind.”
“We didn’t know how much runs were enough on this pitch. So we were very open-minded,” Shakib said. “We first thought 140 was a good score. Then we got to a stage when we thought 170-180 would be our total. We didn’t get many runs in the last five overs, but we batted well in the powerplay and middle-overs.
“They have seven or eight proper bowlers so we had to struggle at least once in the innings,” he added. “The way Rony and Litton started, and then Shanto and Litton build the innings, especially their running between the wickets, it was outstanding. The way they turned ones into twos and twos into threes, it put England under pressure.”
Bangladesh’s sudden upswing in the T20I format had a lot to do with its proximity to the BPL, and the selectors’ willingness to pick the best performers from a tournament that ended only three weeks before the series. “Everyone in this team performed in this year’s BPL,” Shakib said. “It wasn’t too long ago before the England tour. The top five-six batters in this series were also the top run-getters in BPL. It is the same for the highest wicket-takers. The confidence did carry over, so I think that really helped us.”
“I have been leading the team since the Asia Cup last year,” he said. “We didn’t win a match there, but I thought we played good cricket. We were unfortunate not to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. We were one win away from that achievement. We had a lot of doubt before the tournament, but the belief that we can compete with bigger teams started from the World Cup.”
England’s lack of batting depth also played a hand in their success as Bangladesh knew that three or four wickets would bring them to the lower-order. “We had more confidence before this series, since we were playing at home,” Shakib added. “We capitalised on England being short of batters. It was our advantage that they didn’t have many batters after losing three or four wickets.”