Tamim: ‘Afghanistan were hungrier than us to win the last match’

Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal has branded Afghanistan the hungrier of the two teams after the visitors won by seven wickets in the third ODI at Chattogram. Tamim’s frustration stems from his side’s soft surrender in a game that netted ten Super League World Cup points, even though it was dead rubber as far as the series is concerned.

Tamim insists on treating every game the same since Bangladesh won the ODI series against Sri Lanka last May. Again, Bangladesh played badly in the third match. He repeated the message ahead of the third ODI in Zimbabwe in July, which Bangladesh successfully closed.

On Monday they were swept for 192, before losing with 59 balls to spare.

“Losing consecutive wickets makes it difficult,” Tamim said. “Three run-outs didn’t help either. If we could have managed 250, we probably could have had a better chance. Credit goes to Afghanistan. They were hungrier than us to win the last game. Rashid [Khan] played very well today although we played their spinners very well in the first two games. [Rahmanullah] Gurbaz hit very well.”

“I wanted the team to finish [the series] on a high and get maximum points,” Tamim said. Bangladesh currently sits on top of the points table, but they have tough missions ahead, and Tamim wants his team to aim for a higher position on the points table. the Super League World Cup, not just being satisfied with qualifying for the World Cup.The top eight teams in the points table automatically qualify for the global event, with the rest facing a qualifying tournament.

“You don’t know the future,” Tamim said. “We then play against South Africa and Ireland on their terms. We also play against England, so nothing is guaranteed. You have to make sure you get maximum points at every opportunity.

“If you want to pretend you came to win the 2023 World Cup, it wouldn’t make sense if you qualified as the seventh or eighth team”

Tamim Iqbal

“If we win one or two [matches]we will probably qualify for the World Cup. [But] it’s not my target. My personal goal as captain is to finish in the top four. If you want to pretend you came to win the 2023 World Cup, it wouldn’t make sense if you qualified as the seventh or eighth team.”

His counterpart Hashmatullah Shahidi was happy that Afghanistan could collect ten points after conceding the series. Afghanistan ends this series at No. 4 in the points table.

“Every game was important for us in this ODI series,” Shahidi said. “We were disappointed after the first two games, but that happens in cricket. Those ten points will make our future a little easier. I’m happy with the way we played.”

Shahidi credited spinners and field effort, but he had particular praise for Gurbaz who hit an undefeated cent.

“I’m very proud of the way we played in this game,” he said. “Gulbadin [Naib] took a nice catch [to get rid of Litton Das]. The way Rashid and [Mohammad] Nabi played, the three run-outs, it was all a turning point.

“The way Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Riaz Hassan started…Gurbaz got injured in the last game so he still wasn’t feeling well yesterday. When he told me he was available, I gave him confidence. I told him, ‘You’re the only one I believe in. I told him that every time he goes out he has to try to score a hundred.

“He’s a game winner. Every time he starts he does it big. We have a young group in the team. Ibrahim Zadran is technically very good. Riaz Hassan gave us a good start today ‘ today. I’m sure they will make it all good for Afghanistan in the future.”

Tamim also reserved particular praise for Litton who scored 136 and 86 in the last two ODIs. Litton has changed his form since the T20 World Cup, scoring hundreds against Pakistan and New Zealand in Tests, and finishing as the team’s top scorer in that ODI series.

“It’s really nice to see him shine,” Tamim said. “I hope he can continue to do that in the near future. He’s a quality player. I think he struck exceptionally well in the second game and today. He was very calm at the start but he never missed an opportunity to score points.

“You had to hit like you were batting in a test match because we were playing on a grass pitch for the first time at home. The ball does a bit. He played all three spinners with a lot of comfort.”

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