Liton Das takes a shine to the middle order

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“If you stay not out, your runs will increase and you will also be able to handle the match pretty well.” © AFP

Liton Kumar Das credited Shakib al Hasan for having taken pressure off his shoulders as well as guiding him in the middle through Bangladesh’s record chase against West Indies. The Bangladesh batsman, who is originally an opener, was demoted to No.5 replacing Mohammad Mithun in the playing XI. He repaid the faith in style with an unbeaten 94 whilst supporting Shakib like an experienced middle-order batsman, and in the process adding an undefeated 189-run stand for the fourth-wicket to help Bangladesh pick up a seven-wicket win over West Indies.

“The way Shakib [bhai] batted, some of his boundaries helped me a lot and that helped me to release the pressure,” he said on Monday (June 17). “At the end of the match, I want to say that I never felt this way. I scored a lot of runs in the domestic league but never finished any game. It was a big achievement for me as I finished today’s match and that too in a big event like the World Cup.

“I didn’t have much to say to Shakib bhai. The one thing I said to him is that an opportunity like this doesn’t come too often. If you stay not out, your runs will increase and you will also be able to handle the match pretty well. We always want to score runs as players and also want our partners to score because it’s a team game. When he was scoring I felt really good, and when I was scoring he also felt really good because when I scored my fifty he came running towards me and gave me a hug. He also knew that I am new to this and it’s a very challenging phase for me. So he helped me a lot today,” he added.

Liton, playing in the middle order in ODIs for the first time, added that he was under pressure until he reached 30 runs, and only after that did he feel like he had adjusted well enough to come out of his shell. “After 30 runs [I was bit relaxed],” said Liton. “I was under pressure at first. I was a bit nervous too. I felt everything was against me. But after I scored 30 runs then I realized that I have adjusted to the wicket very well and I will be able to play as I want to play. I felt comfortable after scoring 30 runs,” he said.

“At first, I was very nervous because I was out of game-time for long, playing in a match is different, fielding and supporting your team is another thing. I was behind in that regard. Playing today was important because I think when you play a match your nervousness goes away and these things will help me a lot in the coming days,” he added.

Bangladesh’s next challenge is Australia, who they will play on June 20 in Nottingham. Liton, however, believed that Bangladesh are in a much better place to face the Australians after comfortably handling West Indies’ short balls in Taunton.

“They try short balls against every Asian team. We succeed in 5-6 short balls from 10 short balls we face. So foreign teams will always try to trouble us with the short-ball and they have some quick bowlers too,” said Liton. “The way we handled the short ball today, I think we have to do the same against Australia and have to play with a little more focus too,” he added.

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