ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Shakib Al Hasan happy to get what he wanted from Sri Lanka game

Bangladesh teamed up on one rare occasion in this World Cup, against Sri Lanka on Monday in Delhi. They kept Sri Lanka down to 279. They chased down the target in 41.1 overs. They did enough to jump up two places on the points table, and got the net run-rate boost that they were looking for.

It all added up to the overall sense of regret about Bangladesh’s World Cup campaign.

Shakib Al Hasan, adjudged Player of the Match for his 2 for 57 and 65-ball 82, in a 169-run third-wicket stand with Najmul Hossain Shanto, who scored 90, expressed disappointment at not achieving what Bangladesh had set out to achieve at the World Cup. Though they are well-placed now to qualify directly for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

“If we had done that [played like this] in earlier matches, that would have been better,” Shakib said after the match against Sri Lanka. “If we had won one or two more matches, we would have been in a nice position. We had a lot of expectations. I thought we let ourselves down. I thought the target we set within the team, what we thought we are capable of doing, we couldn’t do it. So that’s the disappointment we all have.”

The Shakib and Shanto stand, Bangladesh’s highest for any wicket against Sri Lanka – after they were 41 for 2 in the seventh over – won the match for Bangladesh.

“It was a very important partnership,” Shakib said. “We talk about it constantly in the dressing room – we always need these partnerships to win games, especially in the top order. Otherwise, we are always repairing damage in the lower order. Today’s partnership won us the game.”

Bangladesh have lost early wickets in most of their World Cup matches. For a change, Shanto and Shakib started carefully before changing gears. Shakib said that they knew the dew in Delhi would also help, so they needed to stick around for long enough.

“When we lost two wickets, we had to rebuild. We know the wicket is good. We had to bat deep, make a partnership and that will ease a lot of pressure,” he said. “That’s exactly what we did and when we had an opportunity, we capitalised, we counter-attacked, put a lot of pressure back on them because it wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on. But the dew was helping us a lot.

“We knew that that ball was coming on to the bat, we had to just bat deep. When we were in the 17th-18th over, we were just saying that if we bat to the 30th over, we can take the game close to the finishing line. If one of us stays, we can finish it early.”

Shakib said that Bangladesh’s plan was to win soon enough to boost their net run-rate – not for the World Cup, but for the Champions Trophy. Shakib, in fact, was the first to point out that Champions Trophy qualification was linked to the World Cup standings, so they worked towards that.

“When we lost a couple of quick wickets, myself and Shanto were still looking to chase it in 41.2 overs or something that would put us ahead of, I think, a couple of the teams,” Shakib said. “That’s what we were looking to do. Trying to do that cost us some wickets. But, in the end, we are very happy with the way we played.”

The match will be remembered for Angelo Mathews becoming the first to be dismissed timed out in international cricket. Mathews has called Shakib’s conduct “obviously disgraceful”, and much of the reaction so far has been against Bangladesh. But the Bangladesh team will be happy to have done at least something right despite their World Cup campaign going nowhere.

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