Cricket World Cup 2019: Bangladesh dressing room was chilling, reveals Shakib Al Hasan after record win
Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das stunned West Indies with a rollicking stand. © AFP

TAUNTON: Asked about what the mood was like during the innings break in match 23 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Taunton’s County Ground, after West Indies set Bangladesh a target of 321, Shakib Al Hasan‘s reply was straight off the middle of the bat: “Everyone was chilling.”

Sorry, what?

“No one in the dressing room felt it would be tough. It gave a lot of confidence and belief,” said Shakib.

Bangladesh’s belief – they had won seven of nine ODIs against West Indies in the past two years – that 321 could be chased was buoyed by an opening stand of 52 in 8.2 overs between Tamim Iqbal (48) and Soumya Sarkar (29) after which Shakib joined forces with Liton Das to hasten a record chase with a partnership of 189 in 22.3 overs.

For Shakib, the start from Tamim and Sarkar, who hit two fours and two sixes in his 23-ball innings, set the tone for a chase in which Bangladesh did not need to fret.

“The way the openers started the innings, it further made the dressing room comfortable. At no point did we panic. It was the best part of the chase,” he said.

(ALSO READ: Who else but Shakib to drive Bangladesh to record World Cup win?)

When Liton walked out to bat, Bangladesh were 133/3 in 19 overs. Mushfiqur Rahim had just gotten out for one, having got a faint tickle down the pads off Oshane Thomas. This was Liton’s first World Cup match, having been drafted in for for Mohammad Mithun. He had not played an international match for Bangladesh since May 15, when he made 76 off 67 balls opening the innings against Ireland.

Liton Das World Cup debut
On World Cup debut, Liton Das hit 94* off 69 balls in a record win. © AFP

What unfurled was a dazzling innings of 94 not out from 69 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. Liton’s exceptional application, running and boundary-hitting, admitted Shakib, was the perfect foil for him.

(ALSO READ: Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das take Bangladesh to epic win)

“He never put me under pressure during the chase, so that was the best part in his innings,” he said. “And first match in the World Cup, coming into the team after three or four games, it’s not an easy situation for a player. But the way he handled the pressure was brilliant. After I think 10, 15 balls, the way he batted, I think it was a treat to watch. I enjoyed his batting from the nonstriker end.”

Shakib is now the leading run-getter of the World Cup: 384 in four innings. Each time he’s batted, Shakib has reached 50. Two hundreds, two half-centuries. For a man sidelined with injury earlier this year, the hard work is paying rich dividends.

(SCORECARD: WEST INDIES vs BANGLADESH)

“I’ve been contributing well with both ball, bat and with my leadership, and it’s been key to our team,” said Shakib. “I’d love to continue because there are four more games left, and if we have to play it safe, we have to play our best cricket. And everyone needs to contribute and chip in. At this moment, I’m doing well. So I need to make sure that I keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

“At this moment I’m seeing the ball really well. I think it is one of the key part of my batting that I’ve been watching the ball really well at this moment. And I’m getting more time when I’m batting. So it’s been helping me a lot. But I keep on saying one thing – that at least four more matches left and it’s the midway of the tournament. So I have to be patient and I have to start every innings the way I’ve been starting.”

Bangladesh next play Australia in Nottingham on June 20.