World Cup 2015: Mahmudullah finds form at perfect time for Bangladesh
It`s been a long time coming but Mohammad Mahmudullah is finally fulfilling his promise as a match-winning batsman. For both him and his country Bangladesh, the long wait is paying off at the perfect time.
Melbourne: It`s been a long time coming but Mohammad Mahmudullah is finally fulfilling his promise as a match-winning batsman. For both him and his country Bangladesh, the long wait is paying off at the perfect time.
Mahmudullah was first picked to play for Bangladesh in 2007. Just 20 at the time, he was earmarked as a star in the making, but it was a false dawn.
He had his moments. In January 2010, he made an unbeaten 96 against India then a month later he scored his maiden test century against New Zealand, batting at number eight.
In 2012, he played the leading role when Bangladesh beat the West Indies in a ODI series for the first time and he was tipped to become his country`s next captain.
But his form deserted him and he has been in an out of the team in the years since before fighting his way back for the World Cup.
Now 29, Mahmudullah has produced his best when it really matters. Last week, he finally scored his first ODI hundred, a brilliant 103 against England which sent Bangladesh through to the World Cup quarter-finals and the English home.
Four days later, he scored his second ODI century, an even better 128 not out against a potent New Zealand attack.
His form throughout the whole World Cup has been great. Before his back-to-back hundreds, he scored 62 against Scotland, 28 against Sri Lanka and 23 against Afghanistan.
At the end of the pool phase, he was the fifth highest run-scorer from all countries with 344 runs. His average of 86 was the third best.
"He`s been terrific throughout this tournament," said Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. "Hopefully he`ll continue his performance in the quarter-final match."
A handy bowler, Mahmudullah has also bagged one wicket in the World Cup but it`s his form with the bat that has been the key to his team`s progress.
Now his biggest test will come on Thursday when Bangladesh face defending champions India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Before this year, no batsman had ever scored centuries in three successive World Cup matches but Sri Lanka`s Kumar Sangakkara has made four in a row, giving Mahmudullah`s team mates real hope his long wait to deliver will reap any more benefits.
"His job is not finished yet," said Shakib. "As a professional team we`ll look for him to score another hundred.
"If Sangakkara can score four hundred in a row, why not Mahmudullah?"