There was only one thing that Bangladesh had wanted leading up to the final – top-order runs. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza took the highly irregular decision to open the batting with Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Liton Das, and the unlikely duo delivered with a 120-run opening stand after five matches where Bangladesh’s highest opening stand was 16.
However, in a reversal of roles, it was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament – Mushfiqur Rahim – and senior pro Mahmuullah Riyad who let them down at a crunch moment when they should have been supporting Liton.
“We wanted a partnership at that stage. It was 120 in 21 overs [when Mehedi got out], said skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza after the match. “So at that stage we wanted to bat 14-15 overs... even if we added 60-70 runs playing low-risk cricket and lost one wicket, we would still have had eight wickets in hand. That is how we were planning. Maybe the execution was a little off with Mushfiqur, and then you had the runouts.”
After Imrul Kayes, batting at number three, was adjudged leg-before, Mushfiqur was expected to stay with the rookie, but he holed out off Kedar Jadhav. After the Ravindra Jadav inspired run out of Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah departed in much the same manner as Mushfiqur, needlessly trying to force the pace and holing out to square leg off Kuldeep Yadav.
“Batting with intent does not mean playing big shots and getting out,” Mashrafe said with a trace of irritation in his voice. “You need intent, but at the same time you need to look after the good start – which we didn’t get throughout the tournament – and it was very much possible to get to a big total. Since our main batsmen were in the wings, we should have at least scored 250-260.
“And considering the wicket, if we scored 250-260 the bowlers could have played with more freedom, especially the spinners. The spinners bowled both sides of the wicket today. Maybe their lives would have been easier if we had more runs to play with. But ultimately it was the middle order collapse that cost us.”