‘Never know what it is like until you get out there’
New Zealand were hit hard with the reality of playing in a slow, low and gripping Mirpur pitch on Wednesday as they suffered a thumping seven-wicket defeat, their first-ever defeat against Bangladesh in the format, after being bundled out for 60 in just 16.5 overs -- Kiwis' joint-lowest total in T20Is.
The Kiwis, however, were very confident and optimistic ahead of the five-match T20I series against Bangladesh, especially due to their two-week-long practice at Mount Maunganui by preparing similar surfaces to the one they anticipated playing during the series.
But just like the Australians, who toured for five T20Is last month and were hammered 4-1, the Kiwis found life difficult when strangled with spin from all around in Mirpur, especially in the first few overs of the game.
"It is nice to finally get out there [on the ground]. Obviously, we have been training for a few days prior to that but you never know what it is going to be like until you get out into the middle," said New Zealand's left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel.
Patel, in fact, was the most economical bowler among the bowlers of the two sides. His figures of seven for one in four overs at an economy rate of 1.75 is the second-most economical figure ever in T20Is by a Kiwi bowler, just behind former left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori. Vettori's best of six for three in four overs was also recorded against Bangladesh back in 2010 in Hamilton.
However, despite such a great showing with the ball, Patel had very little to show for it and was only left expecting to learn from yesterday's experience and hopes of adapting accordingly before the next game.
"I think we will learn from that quickly and adapt for the next one," said Patel.
Patel might be getting a hang of the Mirpur pitch a bit as he realised even though there is a lot of assistance for spinners on the surface, it is sometimes more about control and bowling in the right area.
The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Nasum Ahmed and Mahedi Hasan often reaped benefits with the occasional deliveries that go in with the arm or gets into the batsman very quickly. And judging by Patel's words, the 32-year-old may incorporate such a technique in the coming matches.
"I think on surfaces like that, where you have a lot of assistance, it is sometimes about having control. It is about being able to control your length. Sometimes, the most dangerous balls are those that don't turn," added Patel.
And although New Zealand lost the opener in a very spectacular fashion, the visitors may find some relief in knowing that their batsman Finn Allen, who had tested positive for coronavirus after arrival in Dhaka and was separated from the team, has been integrated back into the Kiwis' team bubble after returning two negative tests.
Also, pacer Matt Henry, who was called into the squad as a replacement for Allen, is also due to join the team tomorrow subject to pending negative Covid-19 test.
Bangladesh play New Zealand in the second match of the series tomorrow at the same venue.