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Tamim hopes form can take Bangladesh forward to knock-outs

June 7th, 2017 | by admin
Tamim hopes form can take Bangladesh forward to knock-outs

Tamim Iqbal is one of the batsmen who has lit up this Champions Trophy so far, but it won’t mean much to him unless Bangladesh can scramble their way into the semi-finals.

If it hadn’t been for the rain at The Oval that left Australia high and dry in their run-chase on Monday, that chance would already have gone by now, so Tamim is at least grateful for one more opportunity to turn his golden form into something tangible for the team.

But, he admitted, before Bangladesh harnessed their white-ball skills to climb to No. 6 in the one-day rankings, that mindset would have been different. When the side was struggling, often personal glory was all that could sustain a player. Now the team believe they should be winning as a collective.

“When the team was not doing so well, four or five years ago, maybe this was the only happiness you got,” he said. “You are scoring runs. Now the team is doing well, we are ranked sixth in the world, when the team is not doing well, you don’t get the enjoyment like before. It is nice to score runs but, if my hundred helps win Bangladesh a game, it is a special feeling. People remember such knocks.”

That does not mean that Tamim is consigning his innings of 128 and 95 to the dustbin – they were his highest scores against both opponents – but instead, he is using them as motivation to do it again against New Zealand in Cardiff.

“They have the best attacks in the world and scoring against them in these conditions, which is very different to where I come from, it gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. “Next time I come here, I will have a better idea of how to handle these situations. From a personal point of view, I am quite satisfied with the way I am batting. Most importantly, we have an important game coming up so we are focusing on that.”

The two innings came in contrasting circumstances. Against England, there were always plenty of resources left in the dressing room, but Bangladesh lacked the late-overs punch to stretch the target to more demanding levels. Then, facing Australia, the batting fell apart around Tamim before he was seventh out, top-edging a pull off Mitchell Starc. One run and 14 balls after his departure, Bangladesh were all out.

However, Tamim does not believe it all rests on his shoulders, even though he has been a vital cog in the emergence of this Bangladesh side as a significant one-day threat. “We have very skilful batsmen who haven’t fired yet,” he said. “They are all proven players. They will do it in the future. It is a matter of one innings. If a couple of guys start scoring in the next game, we are a very dangerous side.”

Bangladesh’s most recent meeting with New Zealand, in Dublin, holds good memories as they secured a five-wicket win, their first victory against them outside of home soil. The success, however, does need to be couched by the fact that New Zealand were without key players (Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Adam Milne all sat out) and their previous four matches this year had been comprehensive defeats.

“We have beaten their strongest team at home but maybe not so strong in Ireland,” Tamim said. “We have done well against them in the past but they have a strong unit. They have serious quality players. If we want to repeat the result again, we have to execute well.”

Bangladesh’s history with Cardiff has already been well documented in this tournament, after Mashrafe Mortaza recalled the heady day in 2005 when they toppled Australia and he hired a limousine for the celebration. There was much interest in the rebuilt venue, which bears little resemblance to that day, from the throng of Bangladeshi journalists who watched training on Wednesday, many seeking out reminders of that piece of their country’s sporting history.

The team needs to create new memories and heroes this time. And even if they do win on Friday, the limo-hire will have to be put on hold – for 24 hours at least – because Bangladesh would need a favour from England to knock out Australia. However, after being four overs from elimination a few days ago, they are just relieved to have any chance at all.


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