Bangladesh were thoroughly outgunned by T20 world champions West Indies in the first T20I yesterday at the Sylhet International Stadium and that the visitors chased Bangladesh's total of 129 all out with 55 balls and eight wickets to spare showed the extent to which the hosts were dominated.
It was a case of one team excelling at both batting and bowling while the other underperformed in both departments. On a good wicket where the ball came on to the bat, Bangladesh were unable or unwilling to adjust game plans when their best batsman, Tamim Iqbal, was out early off Sheldon Cottrell trying to force a flat-batted shot down the ground when he would have been better served using the pace of the wicket against the fast men.
Only skipper Shakib Al Hasan, whose strength is hitting shots square of the wicket, managed to bat with ease with a 43-ball 61. While Tamim made an error in judgement and shot selection, batting coach Neil McKenzie said he was disappointed that the others did not learn from that error as Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das departed in the same manner in the first six overs that yielded four wickets.
"I don't think we learned quick enough. There was extra pace with Cottrell and [Oshane] Thomas opening the innings. We knew they were going to hit the deck hard," the batting coach said after the match. "Shakib showed that we could have used the pace a little bit more. I think we just tried to be too aggressive, trying to hit the ball in front of square when we could have used the pace. You have to hit the ball against guys who have slower balls and change-ups, but when they bowl 138-140s, you have to be a little bit smarter."
McKenzie thought that after the recent 2-0 and 2-1 wins over the same opposition in Tests and ODIs, a bit of overconfidence may have crept in.
"The team has been on a high in terms of how many series they have won. So the confidence level is there. It is disappointing that they didn't learn from each other, but we trust our batsmen.
"I get worried when I see guys getting gloved or moving away to leg or get beaten for pace around your nose," he said when asked if the Tigers have a problem against pace. "Today it was more about a bit of overconfidence. You have Liton coming down the track at a guy bowling 140. Tamim has been in great form. He is trying to hit it way in front of square. Soumya also tried to do the same thing. Looking to stay on top of the ball, trying to hit it the square-leg umpire and behind, using the pace, was a better shot on that surface. I think it was overconfidence, trying to fight fire with fire. Sometimes you have to deflect more than attack."
Shakib was not as forgiving during the presentation ceremony. "Everything went wrong today other than the toss. We didn't bat well and didn't bowl well. It was a good surface, we should've scored at least 175. You must ask the other batsmen why they didn't bat well. I can't answer for everyone."
With the captain suitably miffed, one can expect a change of attitude, or at least a change in the nature of wickets for the next two matches in Mirpur. Given the difference in T20 pedigree, the latter may have a better chance at bringing results.