London: Bangladesh made the perfect start to their World Cup campaign as their highest one-day international score inspired a 21-run win over a beleaguered South Africa on Sunday.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s side posted 330 for six as Mushfiqur Rahim (78) and Shakib Al Hasan (75) laid the foundations of their impressive display at the Oval.
Attempting to become the first team to successfully chase more than 330 to win a World Cup match, South Africa’s bid to rewrite the record books fell short at 309 for eight. Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis scored 62 from 53 balls, but Bangladesh seamer Mustafizur Rahman took three wickets and economical spinners Shakib and Mehidy Hasan wrapped up a memorable victory.
Shakib Al Hasan was adjudged as the man of the match for his all-round show and speaking after the match he said, “I think this is one of our top wins. We have had a few upsets before in World Cup, but this time we want to prove and the start can’t get any better.”
Bangladesh entered the tournament with confidence after winning their first-ever multinational series against Ireland. “Before arriving here, we had the belief, we needed this start and we need to build on the momentum. I played two years for Worcestershire and I know the conditions here. We played the 2017 Champions trophy and we had a fair idea about how the wickets behave, knew it would be good for batting.”
After South lost two wickets, Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim srtuck together a 142-run partnership which is Bangladesh’s highest partnership in World Cup. Speaking about it, he said “Didn’t know about the record, we had a good start and we both knew that we needed to build on that opening. Our confidence is really good at the moment, the next game here against New Zealand is a big game, they are a strong team and will come hard at us. Looking forward to that match.”
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said, “The first match always sets the tone. We have been positive, won in Ireland and the momentum helped us set the tone here. After the toss, I had a doubt whether to bat or to bowl first. But it was a used wicket in the last match and we thought that batting first isn’t a bad option.”
The skipper also credited Soumya Sarkar for giving a good start. “The batsmen batted really well, especially Soumya (Sarkar) at the start. Mushy (Rahim) batted really well; he plays these kinds of innings with high strike-rates, so did Shakib and then Mahmudullah and Mosaddek finished it really well. But I have to give credit to Soumya for laying the platform.”
“I knew it was a good wicket to bat on and we knew that we had to bowl in the right areas to get wickets. I kept changing the bowlers and the good thing was that we got wickets at every stage. The spinners bowled really well and then set it up for Fizz (Mustafizur) and Saifuddin. The people watching us back home are expecting us to win and hopefully we’ll do well.”
Losing skipper Faf du Plessis said that losing pacer Ngidi owing to an injury was not an ideal start for a campaign. “330 was over par, and every one chipped in with the bat, but all in all it wasn’t ideal from us. To go for that many runs, even without Lungi, wasn’t ideal. We have to take that on the chin.”