Bangladesh captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza insisted on Wednesday that they are not a one-man army despite the team relying too much on their star all-round Sakib al Hasan for match-winning contributions in the World Cup.
Sakib took his game to a new level in this World Cup, so far hitting 384 runs, but other players of the side, especially from the popular group of Fantastic Five, failed to match him.
As it happens so often, sometime depending on one player turns dangerous for a team in a major tournament like World Cup when every game tests the ability of a side.
Sakib helped Bangladesh overcome the challenge of West Indies with an unbeaten 124, which prevented their campaign from getting spoiled half-way though.
Bangladesh still face few big challenges with Australia coming next today in Trent Bridge, where Mashrafee hoped other players will also step up with a decisive performance.
‘Sakib is brilliant, even from - he started his career for Bangladesh cricket. He’s brilliant. And he knew he’s a very confident guy. And hopefully he’ll keep going,’ Mashrafee told reporters in Nottingham.
‘But I won’t say it’s a one-man army…some other bowlers have to step up a little bit with what Sakib is doing,’ said the skipper after providing a list of some small contributions from other members.
Before Sakib played his unbeaten knock, Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin strangled West Indies in late overs while Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar gave the team the belief in the big chase with a positive start.
Mashrafee however was hoping more from his core group of players against Australia, who, according to him, always a ‘different team’ in tournament like World Cup.
The challenge for Bangladesh in Australia is bigger not just because they ‘play their best cricket in World Cup,’ but also because the depth they have unlike their opponents in the previous game.
Mashrafee said nothing from West Indies game would help them against Australia apart from confidence, which, nevertheless, is always crucial to have for any side.
‘I think the Australian bowling attack has a lot of variation. They have Pat Cummins, who can bowl change of pace, quick,’ said Mashrafee.
‘They have some options if you really look at it. I think they have some good wrist spinner. Nathan Lyon is there, [Adam] Zampa. I think they have some more variation.
‘So it won’t be easy like other match, as I said, but the confidence is the main thing, which bowlers have right at the moment.
‘I think if we took that confidence into the ground and deliver to our best and we can assess the wicket very well. You never know.’
Bangladesh’s only win against Australia came way back in 2005 and they also have not played a complete one-day international against the side since 2011.
Mashrafee had a limousine ride when they defeated Australia in Cardiff 14 years ago. A lot has changed since that epic win but the celebration could be even bigger due to the context of the game if they can repeat the glory in Nottingham.
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