Everyone felt bad after Tamim's retirement: Miraz
When Mehedi Hasan Miraz walked into the press conference after shocking 142-run defeat in the second ODI to Afghanistan on Saturday, resulting in the series loss, the first question that the all-rounder faced was whether Tamim Iqbal's retirement saga had impacted the Tigers.
The question was quite obvious considering the lack of competitiveness and intensity that was evident in Bangladesh's approach in all the departments of the game as the hosts surrendered helplessly to Afghanistan.
Although Miraz did not directly admit to it, he did, however, hint that the Tigers were distracted followed by the shocking incident midway through the series.
"Look, obviously we all were shocked after the way Tamim bhai retired and it was unexpected for us. Since we had a break that day, we came for training the next day and we prepared individually for the game. But everyone felt bad after the incident. However, we planned for the game and prepared ourselves," Miraz told the media after the game.
Despite the crushing defeat which saw the Tigers lose only their third series at home since 2015, Miraz said it was a blessing in disguise for the Tigers pointing out that it will help them to work on their mistakes ahead of the Asia Cup followed by the World Cup later this year.
Courtesy of hundreds from Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, the visitors managed to post 331 for 9 and much like the below-par bowling effort, the Bangladesh batters once again failed miserably.
Miraz said that they gave away 30-40 runs more with the ball and pointed out how the top-order's failure combined with the lack of partnerships came to the forefront of their demise.
"We were unable to bowl in a disciplined manner and I think 330 is a lot of runs in this condition. I think we have given 30-40 runs more. With the bat, we lost a few early wickets and there were no big partnerships. It was tough for us to take the game deep. It was always difficult to win this game in such situations," he said.
Tamim's shock retirement has caused chaos in the past 48 hours in the country's cricket and a ripple effect saw it seep onto the on-field performances of the Tigers.
The off-field conundrums caused distractions which impacted the hosts, who were eyeing to save the series after losing the first ODI by 17 runs in Duckworth Lewis and Stern method on Wednesday.
Bangladesh looked wayward and out of sorts ever since stand-in captain Liton Das elected to bowl as the two Afghan openers-- Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran-- came with all guns blazing after being put into bat first in the second match. Both the openers scored hundreds and recorded an opening stand of 256 which helped the visitors to pile up a total of 331 for 9 in 50 overs.
Both Gurbaz and Zadran made Bangladesh's bowling look ordinary as the likes of Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud and Ebadot Hossain got hammered right from the start.
None of the seamers were able to get any purchase from a rather flat surface in comparison to the previous game and when the match situation required them to come up with something different, the bowlers lacked the bite.
Even someone like Shakib Al Hasan looked ordinary, courtesy of some terrific batting display from Gurbaz, who smashed his fourth ODI hundred (second against Bangladesh).
Zadran also joined the party registering his third century as the two batters laid the platform of a big total.
Shakib, however, eventually broke the record opening stand, dismissing Gurbaz for a 125-ball 145 that featured 13 fours and eight sixes.
The hosts did, however, manage to pull things back after dismissing the openers.
Afghanistan, at one point, were eyeing to post somewhere near 350 but could only manage to add 75 runs in the last 14 overs, losing nine wickets.
Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shakib, and Miraz bagged two wickets each but the damage was already done.
The Asia Cup and the World Cup are expected to offer sporting wickets and it will be important for the Tigers think tank to come up with ideas on how their bowlers could make an impact in such conditions, especially after yesterday's display.
In the batting scheme of things, Liton failed yet again as he was caught at short mid-wicket while trying to pull Fazalhaq Farooqi.
In-form batter Najmul Hossain Shanto also missed out when he failed to get a read and was bowled by a brilliant Mujeeb Ur Rahman delivery.
Naim Sheikh, who staged a comeback to the side as a replacement for Tamim, also failed to fire. He was dismissed after a laborious 21- ball nine-run knock which left the hosts tottering on 25 for three inside the powerplay.
Things quickly went from bad to worse. Mushfiqur Rahim put up a solo resistance by scoring 69 runs, but Bangladesh could only reach 189 for nine, with Ebadot unable to come out to bat due to injury.
It seemed that the off-field chaos had indeed affected the Tigers.