After the crushing defeat against India, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza felt that his bowlers did not bowl in the right areas to check the rampaging Indian batsmen and allowed then overhaul his team’s 264 for seven wickets, scored in 50 overs, in the second Champions Trophy semi-final at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Thursday. He also said that his team could have easily scored as much as 340, but the fall of quick wickets in the middle prevented that from happening.
Mortaza, who spoke to the media after Bangladesh’s nine-wicket defeat, wished both India and Pakistan well for Sunday’s final.
How do you see this match, basically? Was it the total -- you could have had a bigger total -- or was it the might of the Indian batting?
No, I think we could have had a big total. The way we have been playing, Tamim and Mushfiqur, they got out at that time, it’s always difficult. That time we had been at the top. It could have been easily 330, 340, but suddenly wickets fell from there again, Shakib, and Riyad couldn't go through. So it's always difficult from there to score 300.
Considering the fact that this team looks up to you as a leader, as a captain, your guidance, so the next big ICC tournament, the 50-over tournament is 2019, and considering you have had a decent performance, decent run with your side whenever they've played, so do you see yourself continuing to the 2019 World Cup? I know I am just asking you considering that this dressing room looks up to you.
I haven't decided. I mean, I'm still enjoying, so maybe, maybe not. You never know. I have not thought about it. So as long as I enjoy it, I'll keep playing.
Was the strategy to bowl a lot of short balls to Dhawan premeditated, because these guys obviously play short balls really well, because that plan went really awry today?
No, actually, I think we didn't bowl into the right areas, and when you don't bowl into the right areas, then the short ball doesn't affect. That's the thing. You have to bowl in the right areas, then the short ball will count. So already we know we gave two, three fours in first two, three balls, come and bowled the short balls obviously the batters will be on top. So, that's the way it doesn't work. We have to learn that that sort of wicket, we have to bowl in the right areas as long as possible.
Mashrafe, I know that you've been saying it's just another game, and that's what sports psychologists also say, that it's just another game. Back home in Bangladesh it was far from just another game. Everybody was extremely excited about it. Were you actually able to treat it as just another game?
Well, you have to. I mean, we knew that it was going to be a difficult match. But, yes, I think if you're talking about the pressure, I think the way Tamim and Mushfiqur batted, even the way Sabbir Rahman started, it didn't look like we are tensed. But once we lose wickets in the middle patches, it becomes difficult. So, you are asking that it's another game, but I think players have to take it easily and have to think the next tour is coming up, South Africa -- or no, maybe Australia is coming up, so we have to get ready for it. I mean, once you lose, people will talk, this is normal, so players don't have to think much about it.
Mashrafe, two questions: Number one is that despite you having a pretty decent bowling line-up, the ease with which the Indian batsmen scored 265 or something, was this something for the Bangladesh team, the ease with which they scored, and number two, what is your prediction for the final where India plays Pakistan?
Look, I think, yes, I think we have a good bowling attack. We always believed that, but sometimes it doesn't work, especially on that sort of wicket. Once you're bowling the second half it's always difficult, but as I said before, we have to learn a bit more, to stop runs on that sort of wicket, because we can't just asking wicket all the time, especially against a batting order like India. So, I know we have to learn a little bit more how can we stop runs and put pressure on the opponent. And the other thing is that both teams [India and Pakistan], I think, played really good cricket in this tournament, and they both have been to the final. My best wishes will be with India and Pakistan both, but final, you can't predict. It's always a difficult match.
Four of your batsmen have had very good tournaments, but are you a bit over-reliant on those four because it puts quite a lot of pressure on them and there was no support at all really.
Yes, we put some pressure all the time. We can't be just asking them all the time. Tamim, Mushfiqur and Riyad and Shakib are making runs, but you know, it happens sometimes, but it will be nice that if some youngster can come and join, and normally they did it before, but this time it was hard for them, but hopefully I think that it will be back in England 2019 and they'll do better than whatever they did this time.
What do you have to say about the shot selections by Tamim and Mushfiqur? It's not the first time, they were in the World Twenty20, some shots were played at a time when they could have played some other shots.
Look, it's difficult to answer that question for me because I know they might have thought this is part-time but they have to go after him. That sort of thing is maybe working in his mind. But they know if you look back to other batsmen, they just think that we still struggled and they keep believing in themselves that they can take on any bowlers, so maybe this way could have been think. But again, it depends on both, what the mindset was there.
Mashrafe, you must be disappointed today, but in terms of the journey that the team has been on in getting this far, you're breaking new ground all the time, so can you just tell us a bit about your pride in the overall team?
Yeah, obviously the boys should feel proud, but I think in a tournament like this, you have to be physically or skill-wise not too bad. Yes, we are coming up still. We need to learn so many things. But I think we have got to be a little bit more ready mentally to play this sort of match. I know once you are ready mentally, anything can be possible. I know next time I think the boys will learn, not because -- both times in 2015 and 2017, both times they've been through the knockout system. So, if you can go through next time, hopefully the boys will learn how to get ready mentally.