Bangladesh put on a much-improved display against Papua New Guinea in their third and final game in the first round and won by a handsome margin of 84 runs and qualified for the Super 12s. The Tigers delivered a tremendous performance especially with the bat and most importantly they made good use of the powerplay and found boundaries during the slog overs.
Shakib Al Hasan was once again adjudged the player of the match for his brilliant all-round display (46 runs and 4/9). It was Shakib's third player-of-the-match award in T20 World Cups.
While collecting the award, Shakib said that a massive pressure is now off their shoulders. "Every game we're playing gets us into more confidence. Obviously, it was a setback, the first game (against Scotland) but in the T20 format, the team that is better on the day wins. But now the pressure is off and we can play expressively," said the all-rounder.
Shakib was out of runs coming into the tournament and struggled to get going against Scotland. But he returned to form with consecutive forty-plus scores against Oman and Papua New Guinea. He stated, "It's not an easy format to get back into form, but luckily I'm getting more chances to bat up the order. A little tired, I've been playing non-stop cricket for the last five-six months, it's been a long season for me. But hopefully, I can pull this tournament off."
Shakib has been the most prolific of Bangladesh bowlers as well in the tournament. He returned four for nine against Papua New Guinea following a three-for against Oman. No bowler now has more four-wicket hauls than him in World Cups. Shakib, in that match, became only the second cricketer to record a double of 40+ runs and four wickets in a World Cup game.
Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah praised the batters for the positive intent they showed in the match. "The way that we wanted to play, the intent was there from the batters. Having said that, I think the wicket was better in comparison, so the batters did well to get 180."
Bangladesh scored 45 for one in the powerplay which was their highest in this tournament. On the other hand, they removed five Papua New Guinea batters inside the first six overs. That made a massive difference. "I think the two things we've been concerned about are the first six overs with bat and ball. If we get a good start, we can capitalise, so I think we need to improve on that," he mentioned.
Bangladesh scored 68 off the last five overs which potentially took the game away from the opponents. "I've said it before - we're much more skilled hitters than big hitters. So we need to find the bowlers we can take on on that particular day and we need to figure that out and communicate with the others as experienced batters," said Mahmudullah.
Papua New Guinea captain Assad Vala admitted that it was the death overs when Bangladesh tightened their grip on the match. "Towards the end, they got the momentum, but I thought we started well. (They got) 40 for one (45 for one) or something in the powerplay. We pulled them back really well, but we just couldn't execute our death bowling under pressure," he said.
It was a sorry end to Papua New Guinea's maiden World Cup campaign but Assad Vala promised to do better next time. "I think losing wickets in the powerplay has been costing us. We've not found a really good way to play. Against a really good team, you need to be up for it. We can take back executing our skills under pressure, we weren't good enough. We know we could've done well. So next time if we get the opportunity, we'll try to change it," he concluded.