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Ban vs Afg, 2nd ODI, 2021-22


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The opener spoke about his approach to innings-building after scoring a match-winning 136

“One good thing these days is that I don’t think too much about the game.”

You needed a second take when Litton Das said these words. He repeated it and offered a smile. This, coming from one of the relatively younger members of the Bangladesh team, was quite refreshing in some way.
Litton said he was reaping the rewards of a changed mindset, which resulted in his fifth ODI hundred and helped Bangladesh to an 88-run win against Afghanistan. He explained after the game what this changed mindset was all about: he thinks deeply about the risk percentage of his shots, sticks to a general plan against every bowler, and backs his ability to make big scores if he spends time at the crease.

It was how he batted while scoring 136 off 126 balls on Friday. He stayed at the crease until the 47th over, and dismantled Afghanistan’s bowlers with 16 fours and two sixes. His knock powered Bangladesh to 306 for 4, their highest total against Afghanistan, which proved more than enough to defend.

“The wicket was challenging and they were bowling well,” Litton said. “How you are planning and reading the game is important. I could have hit their pacers by going down the wicket, but what would be my success rate? I might get a four or a six, but it is a high-risk shot. A wicket puts the team under pressure. I thought about it and realised that there’s value to my wicket, and I hope to continue to value my wicket in the same way.”

Litton said he targeted being at the crease until the 35th over before changing gears.

“As an opener, I am expected to play a big innings,” he said. “My first target is to try to bat for 35 overs. I know that considering my calibre, I can score at least 80 runs against any attack in the world if I bat that long. It was going that way today. After we crossed 40 overs, Mushfiq [Mushfiqur Rahim] bhai and I wanted to get as many runs as possible. We were both set, so we tried to use that situation.”

“I know that considering my calibre, I can score at least 80 runs against any attack in the world if I bat [for 35 overs]”

Litton said the plan during their 202-run third-wicket partnership was to ensure the other batters had to face as few overs as possible from the Afghanistan spin trio.

“The partnership was really important, considering their spinners,” Litton said. “We were discussing that as set batsmen we should carry our partnership as further as possible so that those coming later can have an easier time. Even though the later batsmen didn’t get enough time, we were successful in our planning.”

To tackle Fazalhaq Farooqi, whose four-wicket burst in the first ODI reduced Bangladesh to 45 for 6, Liton said he had to switch to a Test-match mindset for the first ten overs.

“He bowled really well in the last game. He didn’t bowl badly today. He was getting help from the wicket too. I kept a Test batting mindset during his first spell, like how I usually start in a Test innings for the first ten overs. I knew that if we could bat for 15-16 overs, the weather and pitch condition would change.”

Litton believed the experience of playing Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the BPL recently helped Bangladesh’s batters decipher him. “They have two really good bowlers in Mujeeb and Rashid [Khan]. We got a bit of an idea about Mujeeb after playing him during the BPL. We have played Rashid before, so Mushfiq bhai and I could plan well with those experiences.”

Until very recently, Litton was counted among the younger members of the Bangladesh team, but he has now certainly moved up from that subset.

“Aren’t we becoming seniors too? We are developing by playing a lot of matches. Obviously, for any new batter at the start of his career, these bowlers are difficult to handle. I have been around for five years, Afif [Hossain] has played for a couple of years now. We are gaining experience. We try to apply that knowledge and planning in match situations.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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