Skipper Mahmudullah Riyad said that Bangladesh’s score of 141 for five was 10-15 runs short after the Tigers went down to five-wicket defeat against Pakistan in the first of the three T20Is at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore yesterday.
Mahmudullah also defended openers Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Naim after questions were raised about their slow approach as the pair added 71 runs in eleven overs.
Bangladesh were 100 for two after 15 overs but the visitors managed to score just 41 runs in the last five overs for the loss of three wickets. The 33-year-old said that one of the main reasons for the sluggish finish to the innings was the slow nature of the pitch, which made it difficult for the batsmen to score freely in the latter stages.
“The way we batted in the Powerplay [first six overs] was spot on. Both Tamim and Naim batted really well but as the ball got older the pitch also acted differently. It made it difficult for the later batsmen to go out there and hit big strokes. I think we lagged behind in that situation and ended up 10-15 runs short. I think I should have also finished better,” Mahmudullah, who was unbeaten on 19 off 14 balls, told reporters after the game.
When asked whether the conservative batting from the openers had damaged the Tigers’ cause, Mahmudullah said that losing quick wickets in the middle of the innings, including that of a set Naim, proved costly for Bangladesh.
“I think they [openers] started brilliantly. We lost two quick wickets in the middle, including a set Naim. If we could get a big over during that period, like 15 to 17 runs, the run rate would have increased. I think we lacked there and obviously you have to give credit to Pakistan’s bowlers. The way they bowled yorkers and varied the pace was incredible. We have to keep those things in mind and try to do well in the next game,” Mahmudullah added.
Despite a modest target, Bangladesh did manage to put up a fight and took the game till the last over. Although Mahmudullah praised his bowlers, he also said that the bowlers gave away some easy runs by bowling down the leg side, which was the disappointing aspect for the Tigers.
Bangladesh were also below par in the field. Substitute fielder Nazmul Hossain Shanto dropped a rather tough chance off Shoaib Malik, on 47, off the bowling of Mustafizur Rahman at long off when Pakistan required 17 off 16 balls. Malik went on to register his fifty and remained unbeaten on 58 runs to guide Pakistan to victory.
“We have to give credit to the way our bowlers fought to defend the target. Although the bowlers bowled well, at times they also gave away some easy boundaries, at least six to seven, and we could have done better there. At the same time, if our fielding was better, things could have been different,” he added.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BANGLADESH: 141 for 5 in 20 overs (Tamim 39, Naim 43, Mahmudullah 19; Afridi 1-23, Shadab 1-26)
PAKISTAN: 142 for 5 in 19.3 overs (Ahsan 36, Malik 58 not out; Shafiul 2-27)
Result: Pakistan won by 5 wickets.
Player-of-the-match: Shoaib Malik.