Mehedi Hasan Miraz made a significant impact in only his second one-day cricket game as an opener yesterday at the Asia Cup in Lahore, Pakistan, with an impressive century against Afghanistan.
After a terrible batting performance in the first match against Sri Lanka, the Bangladesh team management was in complete disarray. As has happened often lately, Miraz appeared at a critical moment. After only one game, the team management lost trust in Tanzid Hasan Tamim, exposing the weakness of their regular strategies, but they discovered a savior in Miraz. Once again, the resolve was on show.
Miraz came away with a hand cramp and retired injured on 113 in an innings that lasted just under three hours. Since his function has changed significantly, he demonstrated during that knock the adaptability he can bring to his tasks.
As he did against Afghanistan in the previous year, when Bangladesh’s seventh-wicket partnership with Afif Hossain was at its peak, he may have been asked earlier to prevent crisis situations down the order. Due to the instability in the first position, the crisis was at the top this time.
The last time an opening batsman from Bangladesh scored a century was 27 games ago in Chattogram, when Liton Das dominated with a 136-run blow. The Tigers lost 2-1 against Afghanistan in their most recent home series, despite Liton’s bat not talking as much. It was clear that, in the face of Fazalhaq Farooqi’s terrorizing the top-order, he was the only one who could effectively neutralize Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan’s danger.
Bangladesh needed a right-hander to counter Mujeeb’s early deliveries without Liton since the Afghan spinner has an excellent left-to-right matchup. Due of Miraz’s versatility, the club management chose him over Anamul Haque, a specialist opener.
Although the surface was level, Afghan bowlers have lately outperformed Bangladeshi hitters. Miraz’s ability to play effectively inside oneself is one of his most important hitting traits. He was aware of how important it was to stave off Mujeeb till the 30th over. Miraz never went too far.
When necessary, he used the bat’s straight face to play, and Miraz penalized Farooqi for his careless spell. He soon demonstrated that he didn’t need to press the matter with the magnificent cover drive against Mujeeb. As soon as Miraz entered the game with the Powerplay’s acceleration, the glides, cuts, and drives were evident, and he immediately had a significant influence on the squad. After hitting Mohammad Nabi for a six as he walked down the crease, he waited for Rashid’s delivery to slide one beyond backward point.
Having achieved his second ODI century, Mujeeb’s inside-out drive for six was perhaps the finest of the bunch. In addition to his two ODI tons and several fifties, Miraz most significantly provides Bangladesh with a reliable option at the top of the game. Miraz’s versatility gives another level to the squad, and his role as a launchpad with Najmul Hossain Shanto allowed Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim to play freely. Additionally, the change freed up spots for Afif and Shamim Hossain to be included at seven and eight.
More significantly, as his partner Shanto said, “Coming into the top of the order wasn’t easy but he showed his character.” Shanto was instrumental in a big, uninterrupted 194-run stand.
It was evident once again that this person was willing to take on challenges.