Taking five wickets was special than scoring fifty, says Shakib

Southampton: Shakib Al Hasan came up with a special all-round performance, steering Bangladesh to a 62-run win over Afghanistan here on Monday and keeping their semifinal hopes alive in the World Cup.

Mushfiqur Rahim (83 off 87 balls) and Shakib (51 off 69) showed their class on a difficult surface to help Bangladesh post a competitive 262 for seven after Afghanistan opted to field at the Hampshire Bowl.

Shakib, who also became the tournament’s leading run-getter on way to his half-century, was also exceptional with the ball. The left-arm spinner ended with figures of five for 29 for in 10 overs, his best in ODI cricket. With this incredible effort, Shakib also became only the second cricketer after India’s Yuvraj Singh to score a fifty and take a five-wicket haul in a World Cup match.

Adjudged the man of match for his all-round display when asked whether he considered his batting or the bowling performance as special, he said, “Five wickets obviously was special than the fifty. It was important to bat deep and I had to really work hard for my 50 runs. Without Mushy (Rahim) we would not have got where we got. Others chipped in with the bat as well. Overall, it’s a team effort and we know it’s gonna get tough with three spinners.”

Shakib has been in a prime form this World Cup and speaking about the preparation, he said “Before this World Cup, I was fully prepared; it’s the best I have prepared and its paying off. My form is a combination of hard work and luck I guess. Two more important games are coming up for us. India and Pakistan, we have to play to the best of our ability to win those matches but this win will give us a lot of confidence.”

“India are the top side, someone who is looking at the title, it is not going to be easy but we will give it our best shot,’ Shakib told reporters. ‘They have got world-class players who can take the match in their own hands. We have to be at our best but I believe we are a capable enough team.”

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza also praised Shakib. “He (Shakib) has been outstanding for us in the tournament, he keeps scoring runs in every game and also comes on to bowl whenever needed. That partnership between Mushy and Shakib was important, as the track wasn’t easy to bat on. Tamim batted well too and then the finish from Mahmudullah and Mosaddek was also crucial.”

Losing skipper of Afghanistan Gulbadin Naib said, “Obviously, the last game was tough but in this game, we weren’t good on the field and gave 30-40 runs extra. It was a slow wicket with help for the spinners but batting wasn’t that hard. Credit to Shakib, he bowled really well. We have done a lot of good things in the tournament. To do well in such a tournament, you need to prepare well. We didn’t have some things going our way like some key injuries and all.”