Bangladesh batsman Najmul Hossain believes the team’s first T20I victory over England could be a fresh start in the shorter format.
Bangladesh defeated current world champions England by six wickets in the first match of the three-match series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. It was their 50th T20I victory, but more importantly, it marked the beginning of a new chapter under the direction of newly appointed head coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
During his first stint, Hathurusingha transformed Bangladesh’s ODI squad from an afterthought to a force to be reckoned with, beginning with their ICC World Cup victory over England in 2015. Following that victory, they defeated India and South Africa in their own backyard to announce their arrival in the 50-over format, and they have since developed into a formidable ODI side in the international cricket arena.
Many inside the cricketing fraternity believe that the team’s victory over England in the World Cup, which took place on March 9th, coincidentally, gave them much-needed self-belief, propelling them to be in the league of the best. Najmul believes the same can be said for their first T20I victory over England.
“They are one of the best teams in the world, so the win will give us a lot of confidence. “We will gradually build our team, as the ODI team has done well,” Najmul said after the T20I series opener at ZACS on Thursday.
“Winning the first match will give us a lot of confidence, but we must start afresh in the second game. There will be new plans, but motivation and thinking will shift as a result of this game. From here, we should be able to win the series. “On that particular day, we have to play well,” he added.
Bangladesh restricted England to 156-6 in their allotted 20 overs before defeating them by six wickets in 18 overs. Najmul made 51 off 30 balls with eight fours to set up the win, while Shakib Al Hasan made an unbeaten 34 runs to finish the job.
Najmul, who previously told Cricbuzz that he is willing to play aggressively if the team requires it, said he was not planning on playing a stroke-filled inning, but his knock was in stark contrast to the anchor roles he usually plays for his team.
“I wasn’t given a detailed plan. We simply tried to maintain the momentum established by the openers. We followed our normal strategy and reacted to the ball. We attempted to replicate the way we batted in the BPL. That was the only difference. There was no forethought. I responded to the ball. “I tried to use the gaps, which is why I was able to find the boundaries,” he explained.
“I’ve been scoring consistently, which gives me extra confidence. “Game awareness improves,” he said, adding that he was carrying the confidence of being Bangladesh’s highest scorer in the previous edition of the ICC T20 World Cup.
“It definitely helped me score runs in such a big tournament. I tried to bat confidently, but every day is a new day. The feeling is good on the inside, but you have to start each inning fresh.
“In this series, the batsmen have been given a lot of leeways. The impact cannot occur quickly. It takes some time. It is determined by the wickets and the conditions. “I believe the batsmen have a lot more freedom now, and there will be more impact soon,” he said.
Najmul said that debutant Towhid Hridoy’s approach was very pleasing because it made him feel comfortable in the middle and that both of them knew each other well because they played for Sylhet Strikers in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League, where they formed a valuable partnership in the middle.
In the third-wicket stand, Nazmul and Touhid (24) added 65 runs off 39 balls to keep the hosts from collapsing during the middle overs. “In his first international match, his (Towhid’s) approach and intent gave me a lot of confidence. “He never got nervous playing against such a large team,” Nazmul said. “We just batted as we did in the BPL, where we had some big partnerships.
“The way we made the comeback in the last ten overs (of the England innings), that gave us the confidence. Then we got off to a good start with the bat. We knew that two more collaborations would bring us closer to victory.
“He (Hasan Mahmud) bowled a crucial spell. I believe his BPL performance boosted his confidence today. Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, and Mustafizur bowled superbly in the final overs. They were instrumental in shutting them down on 156-6,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, English opener Philip Salt believes that losing two set batsmen off consecutive deliveries cost them a lot of ground. After being sent into bat first, England was in a great position to set Bangladesh a massive target after Jos Buttler (67) and Ben Duckett (20) shared a 47-run third-wicket stand to take them to 135-2.
However, Bangladesh came back strongly in the match, dismissing both batters in consecutive deliveries to halt their scoring rate. Duckett was caught off the last ball of the 16th over by pacer Mustafizur Rahman, while Buttler was caught off the first ball of the next over by pacer Hasan Mahmud.
“We know we could have finished the inning better. When you lose wickets in consecutive balls in T20 cricket, it always hurts, especially when you have two new batters at the crease. But it’s all part of the game. On another day, we might reach 180. “We couldn’t get that today,” Salt said after the game in a press conference.
“As the game progressed and the lights came on, the surface improved slightly. “Today, the Bangladeshi team’s understanding of the conditions really helped them,” he said. “They made good use of that. I’d say the wicket improved slightly. These guys play very well in their home conditions, and it’s difficult to play without knowing the surface and the conditions.”