After returning from a finger injury, Shakib Al Hasan's inclusion in the Bangladesh squad was a huge boost in itself, but motivating his players right before death was an incident which no cricket player could have foretold. Bangladesh pulled off an astonishing victory over the hosts Sri Lanka under major dramatic circumstances, defeating them by 2 wickets to set up the finals clash with India.
The semifinals knockout match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was marred by drama as the captain gestured his two remaining batsmen to come off the field in a protest against a run-out decision to Mustafizur Rahman on a seemingly shoulder-height ball.
Shakib's role not only boosted the player's confidence, but also lead them to the finals which was highly unexpected, defeating the hosts in their own backyard. Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by 2 wickets as they had achieved the unachievable the previous time the two nations faced off, chasing a record fourth highest target in T20 Internationals.
Shakib lauded the Sri Lankan batsman and said that the hosts had got themselves into a good position but he was lucky to find himself on the winning side after a controversial match.
"You can't expect more than that in a T20 game. There was everything. Emotions, drama, everything. We are lucky to be on the winning side. Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera batted very well, got themselves into a winning position," said Shakib after the match.
Shakib, who was coming off a finger injury was ruled out of the Tri-series in Sri Lanka, but after an early recovery, the all-rounder was back for the penultimate match of the tournament.
"I had only one hit before I came into the game, so I knew I wasn't 100%. It was important to rotate the strike and give it to Mahmudullah. This is one of our best innings in the last five overs."
The Shakib Al Hasan lead Bangladesh team required 12 runs from the final over but Mustafizur Rahman (2) was given a run out in the second ball which triggered a wave of bewilderment and the players started protesting, including Mahmadullah and the team bench beyond the ropes.
After the matters were sorted out, Mahmadullah hit the third ball of the final over for a boundary and then hoisted Isuru Udana for a six to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Shakib said that Bangladesh has always respected Sri Lanka on-field and said that his emotions took over as the skipper protested and gestured his batsman to come off the field. Shakib admitted that the way he reacted was wrong and needs to be careful from hereon.
"We always had a healthy competition on the ground (with Sri Lanka); outside, we are friends. Emotions take over sometimes. I need to be careful as the captain and the leader of the team," said Shakib after the match in the post-match press conference.
Bangladesh will now take on the Men in Blue in the summit clash and Shakib feels that the team can ride high on the momentum after their two thrilling wins over Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy so far. India have defeated Bangladesh twice in the two encounters and will be eagerly awaiting for the Tigers to make their move.
"India are a very good side but we have the momentum, so hopefully we can continue the performance. Hopefully, the Sri Lankan crowd can come and support us," concluded Shakib.
Bangladesh will take on India in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy finals on March 18.