It was love at first sight for Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza after watching his team change perceptions in their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup opener against South Africa.
Among the lower-ranked teams heading into their tournament opener against the world No.3, the Tigers produced a sublime display to claim a 21-run victory at the Oval.
Showcasing powerful hitting both at the top of the order and the death, Bangladesh took the fight to a star-studded South African attack from the outset, posting 330 – their highest ever ODI total.
Viewed as a steady if unspectacular side in some quarters, skipper Mashrafe was delighted with the way Bangladesh embraced a new, front-foot approach in unfamiliar conditions.
“We played so well, especially being in England,” he said “It’s not easy for us in the conditions, which don’t favour us in the way they do at home.
“But I thought it was one of our best performances, and we love to play the we played in this game.
“I’m sure that it won’t be happen every day, but that is the idea. I know love to play that way.”
Boasting considerable experience in their line-up, Bangladesh fielded four players who featured when they beat South Africa in a World Cup match back in 2007, namely Mashrafe, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.
They were also able to call on the talents of Soumya Sarkar, 26, who blasted 42 off 30 balls at the top of the innings to hand the Tigers the perfect platform.
That blend of youth and experience, Mashrafe believes, could prove key as they take on the world’s best over the course of the summer.
“I think really, it’s a heavy batting line-up. That is the best we have,” he added.
“I always said that you look the experience, I have Tamim opening and Shakib batting at three, Mushfiqur comes back at four. Soumya, he’s coming out with something out the box.
“Shakib has got the experience and makes sure that in the top order, he’s more responsible and he can hold all the pressure to deliver at his best.
“He’s exactly spot on, and performed so well for the team.”