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Rashid is one of the best but not unplayable - Mahmudullah

24 Sep 2018 CricBuzz

Bangladesh batsman Mahmudullah said he relishes being the team's go to man during a crisis as pressure helps get the best out of him. Mahmudullah, a middle-order linchpin in Bangladesh's ODI side, has engineered a few rescue acts, none bigger than against New Zealand in the 2017 Champions Trophy, but for a usually dependable middler-order batsman, the first phase of the Asia Cup saw him slip into a mini drought of sorts. This was before he rose to the occasion with a superlative half-century against Afghanistan on Sunday (September 23).

Bangladesh were struggling at 87/5 when Mahmudullah and Imrul Kayes scripted a turnaround by adding 128 runs for the sixth wicket stand. Mahmudullah, who struck his 20th ODI half-century, struck 74 runs off 81 balls in an innings that served as a tonic of revival in a quickly-sinking campaign.

"Yes, I do [enjoy being the crisis man]. The pressure gives me the opportunity to get into my rhythm and give back to my team as well," Mahmudullah said. "Pressure will always be there and we just need to find out ways to handle it, that's all."

Mahmudullah revealed there was a conscious ploy to not lose wickets to the guile of Rashid Khan while not getting bogged down with the scoring at the same time. Mahmudulllah focused only on picking singles against the leg-spinner at the start of his innings and when he had settled down, he clubbed Rashid for two sixes over square leg that indicated he was better equipped to pick the googlies.

"I didn't work too much [on his variations]. We played three times in four days, so there wasn't much time to think. I was just playing with an empty mind. We all know that Rashid Khan is one of the best strike bowlers around the world. That does not mean however that he is unplayable," said Mahmudullah. "Maybe we couldn't apply ourselves against him the way we wanted. In our [Mahmudullah and Imrul Kayes's 128-run sixth-wicket] partnership, our plan was to not give Rashid our wicket. We dug deep and we saw it through till the end."

Mahmudullah was also gracious enough to concede that Mustafizur Rahman's final over, in which he successfully defended eight runs, was of greater significance than his own innings or the partnership with Kayes. "I give special credit to Mustafizur because he was struggling with a hamstring problem. I would say Mustafizur's last over [was more important]. Because although our partnership was important, defending eight off six balls is not that easy," he concluded.


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