We want to be a great T20 side: Shakib Al Hasan

Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan celebrates with teammates after winning the second T20I match against Ireland on 29 March, 2023Shamsul Haque

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan believes his side is on the right track to be a great side in the T20 cricket, a format in which they were termed as a vulnerable team even just a few weeks ago, reports BSS.

However, things have changed dynamically after they whitewashed England in three-match series. They followed that historical feat with another series victory against Ireland and in some style, something which was beyond the imagination of many. 

The two victories in those two matches, hit by rain, saw a number of records break as Bangladesh simply demolished Ireland.

Shakib said they have tried to execute their plan of playing aggressive brand of cricket as a great side always expresses them from the ball one in this format. 

"We wanted to put up the same performance we did in the past few games and we did it well. If we want to be a great side, we have to go out there and express ourselves from ball one," Shakib said, adding, "That's what we discussed and agreed that's how we're going to play."

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Liton Das smashed a 41 ball-83 and on the way to playing this destructive knock, he brought up his half-century off just 18 balls, the fastest by a Bangladeshi batter in this format, eclipsing Mohammad Ashraful's 20 ball-fifty against West Indies in 2007 T20 World Cup.

His fellow opener Rony Talukdar hammered 44 runs from 23 balls and Shakib Al Hasan gave the finishing touch with a cameo 38 not out of 24 balls pushing the total to 202-3. It was the second consecutive 200 plus total for the first time for Bangladesh and overall fifth in this format.

Liton Das reached his fifty in just 18 balls

The day could have belonged to Liton alone but Shakib intervened with terrific bowling performance. He claimed 5-22 to restrict Ireland to 125-9.

It was his second-best bowling figures in T20 International after a 5-20 against West Indies in Mirpur in 2018.

This was also the fourth time that Shakib scored more than 20 runs and taken four wickets in a T20I - most by any player. India's Hardik Pandya comes next to Shakib in this regard as the Indian pace-bowling all-rounder scored 20-plus runs and taken four wickets in a T20I three times. 

After his tremendous bowling show, Shakib now has 136 wickets in 114 matches, pushing New Zealand's Tim Southee to second in the list with 134 wickets in 107 T20Is. 

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"When I batted, it spun when Tector bowled slowly. So I thought that there was something for the spinners and decided to start with spin."

After wrapping up the series, Shakib said their only target is to whitewash Ireland but he urged his side not to be complacent.

"If you're a good team, when you go to Australia or England, they always try to win 3-0 if they're up 2-0, we'll try the same. No chance of us being complacent. We might try a few new players but they'll be just as hungry to do well," he said.

Shakib Al Hasan claimed a five-wicket haul against Ireland in the second T20 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on 29 March 2023
Shamsul Hoque

Ireland stand in skipper Paul Stirling said they didn't think that the battle will be such one sided but he vowed to comeback strongly.

"We have a lot to work on, we'll take it easy tomorrow and have a think about it tomorrow and try and come back stronger in the next game. You have to take every game as it comes, it wouldn't have made a big difference if we went out there trying to put on a show," he said.

"We have to think about team selection, we'll have an unused pitch on Friday and hopefully we'll be one step ahead. I think they're a very strong team, we probably didn't think it was going to be this one-sided.

 There's no dead-rubber as far as we're concerned and we want to turn on Friday and show we're serious."