There were two crucial factors in Bangladesh conceding 381 for five in yesterday's World Cup match against Australia, which ultimately proved to be decisive. The first -- Sabbir Rahman dropping David Warner on 10 off skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza in the fifth over -- led to the second, which was Australia riding on Warner's 166 to launch an attack that yielded 151 runs in the last 12 overs of the match. And letting off a left-hander made it even harder for Bangladesh as they did not have a second off-spin option in Mosaddek Hossain, whose left shoulder injury opened the door for Sabbir.
Mashrafe is always protective of his players, but even he had to concede that letting off Warner was a costly error.
"These things happen in such matches," Mashrafe said during the post-match press conference. "But he added more than 150 [since the drop], but we have to take such chances in these matches. But still, I thought we were okay till the 40th over, even though they had lost just one wicket. We needed to get a set batsman out then, as it would have been difficult for new batsmen coming in at that stage. Even if we gave away seven to eight runs per over from then, it would have been better."
One of the big advantages won by Australia was that, having sent in the left-handed Usman Khawaja at the fall of opener Aaron Finch's wicket, the two left-handers negated Shakib Al Hasan's left-arm spin. Mashrafe rued missing out on Mosaddek's off spin as the team's first-choice off-spinner -- Mehedi Hasan Miraz -- was the most economical, conceding 59 runs from 10 overs.
"They plan to sweep against Shakib and perhaps that was the plan to send in Khawaja -- Warner was charging him while Khawaja was turning the strike over to Warner," Mashrafe said. "If Mosaddek was there, I could have used off-spinners from both ends. I still think it was okay, but I would say that the real damage was done after the 38th over."
Perhaps Warner's continued presence was why Mashrafe found it difficult to hide his disappointment at the missed chances. Sabbir was again the culprit in the 26th over when he fumbled a run-out chance against Warner, when the batsman was on 72.
"I think wickets were needed against them. When you play against such teams on wickets like these, you need to convert half chances. Maybe the run-out would have made things different… that's true."
The positive from the match was the batting and Mashrafe gave the batsmen credit for scoring 333.
"We thought that 320 or 340 would have been chaseable and were trying to keep them to that. After the match against West Indies [when Bangladesh chased down 322 with 8.3 overs to spare] we had the belief that we could chase scores like that. I think the bowlers tried their best to restrict them within that mark, but it is hard to keep asking the batsmen to chase more than 350 every time."