Yet another close encounter, yet another heartbreak for Bangladesh……….

The departure of Shakib Al Hasan in the 30th over led Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad to unleash yet another inspiring partnership. It was neither about Tamim Iqbal’s uncharacteristic cautiousness nor Shakib’s exhibition of extra-responsible behavior with the willow, but it was all about accelerating the pace to reduce the asking run rate by relying on depth touches and strike-rotation.

Mushfiq and Mahmudullah’s 87-run stand for the third wicket only scripted pale faces among the West Indian players, whose bowlers seemed to lose ideas in each over. While the captain, Jason Holder, was left witnessing yet another great run chase where there was everything: well-timed boundaries, picking up the gaps and run as fast as possible and then well-timed boundaries again! The possibility of losing the ODI series started to loom large.

Bangladesh’s asking run rate escalated, but the kind of attitude Mushfiq and Mahmudullah exhibited, it was Bangladesh’s match t lose and in the end, the visitors managed to lose to the astonishment of Holder, who looked lost until the last over of the match.

Mahmudullah’s unnecessary run out brought Sabbir Rahman at the crease and with Mushfiq, he started to provide the perfect foil to Mushfiq’s aggression. The costly Keemo Paul got rid of Sabbir in the last ball of 49th over, but it did not worry the Bangladesh camp as Mushfiq was still round the corner and definitely, he has the reputation of finishing matches in ODIs: the picture of a delirious Mushfiq after finishing off the match against India in the Asia Cup six years ago in a similar run chase is still fresh in the minds of a Bangladeshi fan. In the Test matches, he did the same.

So, when eight runs were required in the final over and with Mushfiq on strike, my positive-mind did not wish to recollect those shorter-formats, where Mushy gifted heartbreaks. Obviously, Mushy was not playing a shorter-format, where glory-strokes are required even when it is not necessary. All Mushy needed to do was to maintain the same tempo and win it for Bangladesh.

Also read: Mushfiqur Rahim: The captain without a plan

Holder’s first ball was a full-toss, which slipped out of the hand and Mushy simply went for the glory-stroke and perished – a soft dismissal, which not even Holder imagined. Again, it was that midwicket region, where Mushfiq went for the glory and yet again, he ended up with eggs on his face. Playing shots in the midwicket region is his strength and at the same time his weakness as well. Alas, Mushfiq just did not plan the way he should have!

West Indies hung on to an absolute cliffhanger and win the match by three runs.


The critics and fans are consistently citing the examples of those shorter-format matches and you just cannot stop them.  No one likes the repetition of mistakes and these days, Bangladesh are losing close encounters more often. As the captain of Bangladesh said, “It is not the first time that we lost a close encounter. It has happened quite a few times in the recent past. It is very disappointing that we are not learning from our mistakes. We must have finished the game easily, but unfortunately, we could not.”

And, Mushfiqur Rahim is at the centre of attraction for all the wrong reasons.

Why do Bangladesh, especially Mushfiq, crumble under pressure more often?

It’s easy to blame about the lack of temperament, but tough to give a solution!

Michael Bevan, one of the greatest finishers in the history of 50-over format was once asked in an interview, how could he pull off incredible matches from the most hopeless of situations! Bevo answered,  “ I felt that was a strength of mine – planning, strategy and making the right decisions. Even when it looks hard to score, it’s about being disciplined and carrying out your plans. One of my goals was to be there till the end. I figured that if I was there till the end, we would win more matches than we lost. Of course, I didn’t score a run a ball every minute, but that was my goal”.

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The first word Bevo used is “planning”. While giving his explanation about planning, Bevo said, “It’s a fairly complex process, but it’s about playing to your strengths. Choosing the right ball to fit into your strengths, understanding the situation – who is bowling, how is the wicket, what is the match condition – and making the right decisions”.

No matter what sort of situation of the match you are in, it requires the perfect planning. If your planning is right, automatically, the platform of finishing off the matches under pressure is created. Mushfiq simply failed to take the right decision when it was required the most. Rather than going for the glory-stroke, he should have only timed it the way he had been doing throughout the run-chase.


At the back of the mind, maybe, he was thinking, while facing the last six balls, he did not need to do any more planning and things would end the way he wishes, but like I said, each situation demands an appropriate planning as in cricket, things can change in a matter of one false-stroke.

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