'I was praying before that six' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:07 PM, April 05, 2018

'I was praying before that six'

Mahmudullah Riyad has emerged as one of the calmest and most composed characters in the Bangladesh dressing room due to his ability to absorb pressure in crucial moments. The 32-year-old once again proved invaluable with a penultimate-ball six against Sri Lanka that powered the Tigers to the Nidahas Trophy final in Sri Lanka last month. The elegant right-hander spoke to The Daily Star's Mazhar Uddin in an exclusive interview, sharing his perspective on the memorable win and the tumultuous lead-up to that six, along with few other topics at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. The followings are the excerpts of the conversation: 

The Daily Star (TDS): Was that six in Colombo the most memorable shot of your career?

Mahmudullah Riyad (MR): Yes, I must say that six is one of the most memorable moments in my career so far. The Nidahas Trophy was very important for us as there were a few questions over our ability in the T20 format. So I think we have overcome that and took a step forward. Very few believed that we were going to reach the final before the start of the tournament. But I had said before that we need a win to change the scenario of our team and everyone had that commitment and were able to do that.

TDS: Describe the situation before you went to bat after the no-ball incident.

MR: If I talk about the nerves I can't explain that situation as there was huge chaos in that over and it had a positive impact on me when it came to seizing the momentum and taking my side through to the finish line. It was a special match, especially because there were a few moments that I was a part of previously where we were unable to seize the moment but in that game we managed to overcome that and eventually we won; that was the most pleasing thing.

TDS: What were you actually thinking when 12 were needed off the last four balls from Isuru Udana and you hit a wide one for a four off the first of those?

MR: First -- that four over cover, which was almost a wide ball but thankfully the timing was good and it went for four. Off the next ball I took two runs. And before facing the fifth ball [of the over] I was literally praying to the Almighty so that I could finish it off. At the same time I tried to remain calm. I always believe that calmness is very important in cricket and it has helped me in my game. So I was thinking 'just watch the ball and play according to the delivery'. I was focusing on looking at the ball till the last moment and in these situations, the batsman tends to tighten the grip and have a lot of negative thoughts. The most important thing was that we managed to win the game at the end and after that the celebration was also memorable.

TDS: Do you think the match-winning knock against Sri Lanka will somehow help you overcome the memory of the horrible one-run defeat against India in Bangalore [2016 World Twenty20]?

MR: I want to say one thing, even in that situation against Sri Lanka I thought of Bangalore and the Asia Cup [2012] final and what was important was that I was able to learn from those mistakes. I was lucky that we ended up on the winning side but as long I will play this game I will look to learn from those incidents.

TDS: Do you think your place in the batting order is stable now?

MR: In a sense yes. It's steady as if you look at the ODIs I have batted at number seven-eight at the start of my career and after [Chandika] Hathurusingha joined I got my promotion to number four against Zimbabwe in 2014 while the team was expecting I play the role of a finisher in T20s. I want to have that versatility and whatever the team expects from me at any situation, I am able to do that. But obviously it's a big opportunity to bat in the top order and you have the platform to score big. Team requirements first...

I have learned a lot and I am more composed both professionally and personally; I am learning day by day. I think you can learn everyday from cricket if you want to and if you work on those small things you will improve. I have enjoyed the captaincy and I am proud that we managed to register a record chase against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy.

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