Mashrafe Mortaza hails Bangladesh’s rise as an ODI force
Bangladesh beat West Indies 2-0 in the ODIs. ©AFP

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza was a pleased man after his team closed out a 2-1 win over West Indies with an eight-wicket chase in the third ODI on Friday, which ended their tally for 2018 at 13-20 in the format.

The win at Sylhet made this the second best year in ODIs for Bangladesh after the 14 they won in 2009. Bangladesh will fly to New Zealand in January to play three ODIs and three Tests and Mortaza was confident of an upwards swing.

ALSO READ: All-round Bangladesh cruise to series win against West Indies

“Winning eight out of 12 ODI series makes it clear that we have progressed, and we are playing with confidence,” said Mortaza, for whom it was his 200th ODI. “We have the New Zealand series coming up. It is an important series for us since we lost to them last year. I think we have a more balanced side, and we hope to do well there.”

Helping fashion the win over West Indies was Soumya Sarkar’s 81-ball 80, whom Mortaza praised.

“Combination is important for a team. Not that we always get it right but execution is more important. The bowlers executed their plans today. Winning the toss was vital too but the bowlers did the work for the batsmen. Soumya is ideal for No.3 and he delivered. It is all about execution and holding your nerve,” said Mortaza.

Mortaza recently entered politics, and there is widespread speculation that the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will be his last.

“Since 2011, I have always felt this way before a game, that ‘what if I get another knee injury, and this will be my last game?’ To be honest, have never deeply thought about [this being my last game] There are challenges ahead and I want to be more prepared to face those. What I will do after the World Cup, I will decide after the [team’s] last match in the World Cup,” he said.

Having swept aside West Indies in both Tests recently, and with ODI and T20I series wins against them earlier this year away from home, an upbeat Bangladesh now head into the T20I leg of the series starting Monday.