Bangladesh not thinking about series yet

Bangladesh cricketers (from L-R) Afif Hossain, Mohammad Naim and Aminul Islam are seen during a training session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Tuesday. — BCB photo

Bangladesh all-rounder Afif Hossain on Tuesday said that the team was not thinking about winning the three-match Twenty20 series against India, but were more focused on putting up good performances in the rest of the tour.

Bangladesh on Sunday finally broke their eight-match losing streak against India in Twenty20 format with a seven-wicket win at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

The visitors now have the chance to claim their first-ever Twenty20 series win against the neighbouring rivals, by winning the second match of the series in Rajkot on Thursday.

However, the Bangladesh players were not getting too ahead of themselves claimed Afif, saying that everyone in the team is focusing to put forward their best performance.

‘We are not thinking about winning or losing the series. Now we are just focusing on our jobs… We are just trying to perform our best from our positions,’ Afif told reporters at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.

The hosts were firm favourites to win the Twenty20 series before the start of the tour, but after suffering a defeat in the series opener, their back is now against the wall as they have to win the second match to keep the series alive.

Afif was reluctant to say if the home side was under extra pressure but was keen to carry on the momentum from the first match into the rest of the tour.

‘I can’t say if India is in pressure. We are confident enough after winning the first match. We are feeling good, which will help us to improve our game,’ he said.

In the absence of stalwarts like Sakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, the young Bangladesh recruits stepped up in the first Twenty20, with Afif claiming 11-1, Aminul Islam grabbing 2-22 and debutant Mohammad Naim hitting a crucial 26 off 28 at the top of the order.

Afif credited the senior players in the side for assisting the new players to relax and play their best cricket and hoped it would continue in the future.

‘The senior players that we have, they are helping us [junior players] a lot. It helped us a lot to play cricket without pressure and to be relaxed. And they are helping us constantly, so I hope there won’t be any problem ahead,’ he said.

Afif, who first made his mark with a match-winning 52 off 26 balls against Zimbabwe at home in September, didn’t get the chance to bat against India but made his presence felt in the field with his economic bowling and a sharp return catch.

Afif was hoping to get a chance with the bat in the upcoming matches and help his side with his batting.

‘I am a batting all-rounder but I did not get the chance to bat in the last match. But I had the opportunity to bowl and I tried to perform for the team. If I get the chance to bat, I will try to perform for my team,’ Afif said.

Source: New Age.

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