Cardiff, June 10: The five-wicket victory over New Zealand in their Group A match at the ICC Champions Trophy was Bangladesh's finest One Day Intertiol (ODI) victory, reckoned their former captain Habibul Bashar.
On Friday, Bangladesh rode on a record 224-run partnership between centurions Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, to keep themselves alive for a berth in the semi-fils of the eight-tion tourment, which Bashar termed as "truly special".
The former Bangladesh batsman kept Friday's win at par with his side's victory over Australia at the same venue in 2005.
"This must rank as one of Bangladesh's finest One-Day Intertiol (ODI) wins ever, on par with our victory, also in Cardiff, against Australia in 2005, and against England at the Adelaide Oval in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015," Bashar wrote in his column on the Intertiol Cricket Council (ICC) website.
"It wasn't just the fact that Bangladesh defeated New Zealand by five wickets, but the manner and the circumstances under which victory was achieved, that made it truly special.
With the loss, New Zealand also became the first team to be knocked out from the tourment. Bashar felt that the win was out of hunger and desire which helped his side win and stay alive in the competition.
"Both teams had to win this game to stay alive in the ICC Champions Trophy, so it wasn't merely about skills but also about desire and hunger. In the end, Bangladesh's strong will and commitment to the cause was greater than New Zealand's, which is why Mashrafe Mortaza's men are now within sight of a place in the semi-fil."
Bashar was also optimistic about England's victory over arch-rival Australia which will earn his side a spot in the semi-fil.
"Of course, that berth in the last four is far from guaranteed, but I can assure you that England will never have gone into a match with as much support as they will on Saturday, when they take on Australia."
"Upwards of 160 million Bangladeshis will be squarely in England's corner, rooting for the home side! After all, an England victory will secure a historic semi-fil berth for Bangladesh, and I am sure Eoin Morgan will welcome all the backing his team can get as it prepares to face the old enemy," he wrote.
Bashar also hailed Shakib and Mahmudullah on their brilliant centuries which helped the side chase 265 against the Kiwis with 16 balls to spare.
"While Shakib's hundred was brilliantly conceived, I was even more delighted to see Mahmudullah back among the runs," he wrote.
"He is a big-tourment player, and had made two hundreds in the 2015 World Cup when we reached the quarter-fil. There has been some uncertainty over his position in the batting order, but I feel he must bat at No.4, because he is best suited to control the innings and the greater responsibility will make him feel more accountable."
"This knock should go a long way towards restoring his confidence, and I look forward to greater things from him," he signed off. IANS