Bangladesh skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza said on Friday that they have the confidence and belief that they can win the three-match series against Afghanistan irrespective of whatever happened in the first two matches.
Bangladesh played some of the poorest cricket in their recent history in the opening two matches but were still lucky to stay alive in the series.
Afghanistan spurned a very good chance in the first match when they dominated Bangladeshi bowlers for more than 40 overs before losing the grip dramatically.
The narrow seven-run loss did not hurt their spirit as Afghanistan bundled out Bangladesh for a paltry 208 runs to eke out a two-wicket win, overall their second win against the Tigers in four meetings.
The shock defeat has now put Bangladesh in a must win situation in the third and final match today as they seek to clinch their sixth consecutive ODI series.
Mashrafee said the defeat did not take too many things away from them and they remained the same team that defeated Zimbabwe twice in last series, reached the World Cup quarter-finals and won series against much-fancied opponents Pakistan, India and South Africa.
‘Definitely we have the confidence and belief that we can win the series against Afghanistan also,’ Mashrafee said ahead of the series decider on Friday.
‘I don’t think all the work that we have done so far and all our achievements so far will end with one defeat.
‘Obviously the players and the staff members were all disappointed but that doesn’t mean that we have forgotten all the good work that we have done.’
‘It was a bad day and this happens in any sport. If we think about that and get on the field with it things will be difficult for us. So we are trying to get on the field mentally free.’
Mashrafee refuted the allegation that they have taken Afghanistan lightly and took a causal approach in the first two matches that may now cost them the series.
Bangladesh returned to ODI cricket after 11 months with this series but hoped they would maintain the process that has made them a formidable side in 50-over cricket in recent years.
They could not expect an easier opponent than Afghanistan, an ICC associate member, who despite their recent progress, still lacked experience.
Ranked 10 in ODIs, Afghanistan played just 67 matches, mostly against ICC associate members as opposed to the home side, who were looking for their 100th win in the series.
‘Before the start of the series against Afghanistan many people thought that it would be easy but my team and I always believed otherwise,’ said Mashrafee.
‘And that was clear after the first game. In the second match our batting collapsed. At one point we recovered but still we lost wickets. I think that we couldn’t play our best game,’ he said.
With the defeat in the second match, Bangladesh lost an opportunity to move up in the ladder in rankings, but Mashrafee was not prepared to pay any attention to it at all.
‘Actually one and half years ago, no one thought about ranking when we were at 10. The faster we came to seven we can go down as fast to 10,’ he said. ‘So our duty should be to wining as many matches as possible.
‘If we don’t win then rankings will go down eventually. So I am not really thinking about that a negative thing.’