Although it was an academic match for Bangladesh, skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza admitted in so many words after the 94-run defeat to Pakistan in their last World Cup match that the result coloured how their campaign would be remembered.
“If we could finish the match on a good note, we could have said that luck has not been with us,” the 35-year-old Mashrafe, appearing downcast after what was his last World Cup match, said in the post-match press conference. “We have been really good in a few things, but a few things have not been with us.”
One of those few things that were not on the Tigers’ side was their fielding. Having let go of opportunities in crucial moments during the matches they lost -- against New Zealand, England, Australia, India and Pakistan -- Mashrafe did not mince words when it came to their failings on the field.
“In some matches, fielding really cost us -- ground fielding especially. It helps the bowlers when fielders back you up,” Mashrafe said. “Catches were dropped, it happens, but when it keeps happening questions will of course be asked.
“Fielding, it has been a concern all of my career. When there is a partnership, we get down,” Mashrafe said. “This is the part that a player can change. I think we really need to improve fielding.”
Getting down when the going got tough was a theme of Bangladesh’s performance on the field. Although Pakistan would also have had little motivation to do well as they needed to bundle Bangladesh out for seven runs to progress to the semifinals, they stuck to their task and finished their World Cup proudly. Mashrafe thought that it was the teams’ contrasting lead-ins to the last game that made the difference.
“It was not like we took the field not thinking of a win, but when the team knows that they are not in the semifinals, in the back of the mind you are a little upset. In these situations it is difficult for both teams. Pakistan were in good touch in the last few matches. Momentum was with them. In our last match it was confirmed that we were out of the World Cup.”
Looking back at the World Cup, Mashrafe said that a seventh-placed finish was not bad, and that there were a few positives.
“If we won today, we could have gone to five. We had a chance to go to five till our last match,” Mashrafe said. “If we won against India, we could have had a certain type of momentum. I wouldn’t say that seven is a very bad place to be.
“I was worried about all three departments before the World Cup and I thought that we lagged behind in all three. After the World Cup I see that there is a big difference in bowling and an even bigger one in fielding,” Mashrafe said when asked where Bangladesh lacked against the big teams. “But after the matches against Australia and India, I think we are in a similar position in batting.”