An innings that failed to take off
Bangladesh failed to cash in on an incredibly sloppy fielding display from New Zealand as they finished their innings at 257 for nine in the third one-dayer of the tri-series at the Clontarf Cricket Club ground in Dublin yesterday.
They were in a position to take score past 270 mark, what could have been a fighting total on a slow wicket, when the first innings entered into the final few overs with two set batsmen -- Mahmudullah Riyad and Mosaddek Hossain -- at the crease. But this was a game where Bangladesh failed to flourish after building four partnerships of substance. And unfortunately when Mahmudullah was out off the second ball of the 48th over for a 56-ball 51, which was the third half century of the innings after Soumya Sarker's 62 and Mushfiqur Rahim's 55, the Tigers lacked the necessary firepower to finish on a high. Painfully, they could score only 12 runs off the last three overs, losing four wickets. This is something Bangladesh are yet to overcome in the absence of a hard-hitting batsman lower down the order.
It was certainly not a match of high standards where the Black Caps fielders conceded 20-odd extra runs and Bangladesh, despite getting a good start after being asked to bat, lost the momentum in a stop-start innings.
Openers Tamin Iqbal and Soumya put on 72 runs in 15.2 overs, but when it was time for Tamim to play catch up after a 42-ball 23, the left-hander deposited a simple catch at deep cover off James Neesham. It was a wide and rising delivery meant to be hit, but Tamim picked up Colin Munro -- the lone fielder in the deep.
Sabbir Rahman arrived at the crease and departed. This time however he did not play a rash shot like he did in the washed out game against Ireland. He was outfoxed by a Mitchell Santner length ball and was clean bowled for one.
However, Soumya was playing superbly. The left-hander was timing everything perfectly and appeared to have managed to negotiate those short deliveries targeting his rib-cage. His first fifty after seven innings reminded of the form he was in while playing against South Africa at home in July 2015 when he scored 88 and 90 to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 series win. But the biggest problem he is still facing is his inability to occupy the crease. In the 25 ODI innings he has played so far, he has only once played till the 40th over, an innings when he scored a magnificent 127 not out against Pakistan in 2015.
It was a wonderful opportunity for the young batsman to play a big innings yesterday. And the stage was also set for him to carry his bat for a long time, but the compulsive stroke-maker paid the penalty for forcing Kiwi leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. On 61 off 67 balls, a knock which contained five boundaries, Soumya ballooned a forceful sweep straight up in the air for Tom Latham to take a simple catch at short mid-wicket.
With the score at 117 for three after 25 overs, in swaggered Shakib Al Hasan to rebuild the innings with his long time associate Mushfiqur. Shakib did not stay at the wicket for even a while and if someone is interested to know how he got out -- better recall one of his many self-destructive shots. Shakib's approach towards the game, most of the time, is something that gives you a feeling that he belongs to the star-cast millionaires where all and sundry have the luxury to play to their whims.
After missing out in the first game, Mushfiqur played brilliantly and perhaps played the best shot -- a down the wicket lofted drive for six over mid-off. But he was dismissed after putting on a 49-run partnership and at a time when Bangladesh needed him carry on with Mahmudullah. It was beauty of a delivery from Neesham that Mushfiqur could only edge behind the wicket.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza came to lead the team after serving a one-match ban, but the inspirational Bangladesh captain lost the toss for the umpteenth time and more importantly failed to use the long handle he was once capable of. It was also inexplicable for him to come after Mehedi Hasan to bat, especially when there were only a couple of overs left after the departure of Mahmudullah.
Young Mosaddek Hossain played intelligently for a run-a-ball 41. The boney right-hander used the pace of the ball beautifully, but he is certainly not the power-hitting solution that the Tigers desperately need deep down the order.