Tigers looking to regain confidence
Dropped catches and general misfielding almost proved ruinous for Bangladesh in the first T20I against the UAE at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, with the visitors pushed till the end in a nervy encounter.
Ultimately, mistakes from the UAE cost them the game and the night belonged to Afif Hossain and Mehedi Hasan Miraz as the Tigers recorded a seven-run win.
But ahead of the second T20I today, the focus will very much be on the poor performances that enabled the UAE to make a game of it on Sunday.
The Tigers started the innings in the worst possible way, losing wickets in the Powerplay as usual. They were three down inside the first five overs before Yasir Ali failed to read a googly from leggie Karthik Meiyappan and saw himself castled to leave Bangladesh reeling on 47 for four in 7.1 overs.
Afif looked in a positive frame of mind and it was his unbeaten 77 off 55 deliveries along with skipper Nurul Hasan Sohan's unbeaten 25-ball 35 which saw the Tigers reach 158 for five, a score not particularly assuring, especially against an associate member.
Afif was also dropped twice, the first instance coming pretty early in his innings. If that chance had been taken, Bangladesh's total would likely have been very small.
But although the 23-year-old captitalised on those missed chances, the game began to slip away from the Tigers when it was their turn with the ball.
Mohammad Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman struggled early in the Powerplay before Shoriful Islam effected a run-out when the non-striker Muhammad Waseem was out of his crease after a straight-drive ricocheted off the bowler's fingertips and onto the stumps.
The other opener Chirag Suri looked well in control before he departed after being stumped from a Miraz delivery that straightened after pitching and beat the batter with its flight.
Miraz then bagged Aryan Lakra before taking a blinder of a catch at point off Mustafizur to thwart the UAE's confident chase. That led to the hosts losing the plot and losing wickets at regular intervals.
Despite having just two wickets in hand in the last three overs, the UAE found boundaries in the death over with the visitors' fielding in chaos. Mosaddek Hossain dropped a sitter near the boundary and Saifuddin dropped another in the last over.
But the UAE were unable to get Shoriful away, losing two wickets in back-to-back deliveries to lose the match.
Despite the win, there were plenty of areas to improve upon, but when Mehedi spoke in a video message to the media, he said the win was very important for morale. It was an indication of a win-starved team low on confidence heading to the T20 World Cup.
"We needed to win a match since we lost the last few matches we played, especially in the Asia Cup, despite going close. We are trying to minimise mistakes," Miraz said as the Tigers gear up for a tri-series in New Zealand and the T20 World Cup in a positive frame of mind.