Mahmudullah maybe looking more to survive than to score, says Domingo
Despite the dramatic one-wicket victory over India in the first ODI where Mehedi Hasan Miraz emerged as the saviour for Bangladesh with an unbeaten 39-ball 38 in a 51-run last-wicket stand with Mustafizur Rahman, there are questions over the performance of two of the senior players -- Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Chasing a modest target of 187 runs, Bangladesh found themselves in a sticky situation after Liton Das and Shakib Al Hasan departed, with the score at 95-4. At that stage, Bangladesh still needed 91 runs from 159 deliveries. Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur, two of the most experienced batters in the side, had the job to navigate the team towards the finishing line.
Instead of showing urgency or intent, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah got into a shell. Mushfiqur managed to grind out 18 runs off 45 balls while Mahmudullah took 35 deliveries for his 14, the latter falling leg-before to a full-length half-volley on leg-stump from Shardul Thakur. Both batters batted at a strike-rate of 40.
Head coach Russell Domingo, however, backed the two seniors during a press conference on Tuesday, when he was asked whether time has come for the team management to drop the two senior batters from the ODI format.
"Firstly, I am going to defend my players as Mushfiqur wasn't dropped and he retired from T20 format. The second point is I think in the last two games in Zimbabwe, Mahmudullah scored 80 and 40-odd runs. So, I am very lucky to say that all players have times in their careers where they are searching for runs and just one ODI ago he got 89. So, we know when the players get into their older parts of their career they are going to go through such phases. I still have a lot of faith in his ability and his batting," said Domingo.
The South African, however, did admit that Mahmudullah needs to show more intent rather than trying to play for survival.
"Not quite about his boundary hitting but I think his intensity maybe dropped a little bit and is looking more to survive than to score and that's why he probably missed the half-volley on the leg-stump. If he was looking to score, he would probably hit that for four, so he is just making sure he gets in to the rhythm and being a little bit positive and not just survive," he said.