How Mustafizur Rahman's words propelled Mehidy's match-winning masterclass
Mehidy Hasan, who played a heroic knock to power Bangladesh to a thrilling one-wicket win in the first of three ODIs against India in Dhaka on Sunday, December 4, revealed how Mustafizur Rahman's advice played it's part in the game-defining passage.
At 128/4 in the 35th over, Bangladesh seemed in control of the 187-run chase, with the experienced pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah battling through in a challenging passage. However, the hosts stumbled to 136/9 within the next five overs, leaving Mehidy with No.11 Mustafizur with 51 still needed off 10.3 overs.
Mustafizur struck a boundary early on, the first of the innings in 17 overs, before Mehidy took it upon himself to strike them big and hold onto the strike. The pair eventually got Bangladesh home with four overs remaining in a brilliant turnaround.
Mehidy revealed that he had the self-belief throughout, and how Mustafizur’s advice helped him during the tense phase.
"Maybe people will call me pagol (mad) but I had the honest belief that we could win," Mehidy said. "I only focused on winning the game. I kept telling myself that I can do this. I thought I'd score 15 runs with Ebadot, 20 runs with Hasan Mahmud and the remaining 15-20 runs with Mustafiz. But two quick wickets meant that it was a do-or-die situation with the last wicket remaining. I had to take calculated risks. Mustafiz's words really stayed with me. It gave me more belief.
"If I thought that we would lose or we won't be able to get the remaining runs, it wouldn't have worked out like this," Mehidy said. "It was definitely a do-or-die situation. There was no problem to get out trying to hit out. When we needed 50 runs, I took the chances. It came off.
"But when we needed 14 or 10 runs, then I got really excited. We have lost a lot of close matches, but Mustafiz kept giving me encouragement. He told me, 'don't hurry, don't try to hit a six. You bat along the ground, we will get the runs'. I was very clear with my game plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I think that helped out also."
Mehidy continued to appreciate Mustafizur’s supportive act, stating that the confidence rubbed on him during “a calculative approach”.
"Mustafiz is my good friend," Mehidy said. "He supported me a lot. One thing that stood out was his confidence. He kept telling me, 'You don't worry about me. I will stop the ball at my end. I will take balls on the body, but I won't get out'. His confidence rubbed off on me.
"He kept telling me not to worry about him. A batter would always worry about the tailender. If he gets out, it's all over. But his approach allowed me to shape my game plan. Who to attack, when to attack. I didn't go after every ball. I did sky a couple, but they couldn't take the chances. You are bound to get out if you are trying to hit every ball. Calculative risk helped out."
The second ODI will be played at the same venue on Wednesday, December 7.