Time to stop the rot
It is a dead rubber in the context of the T20I series but for Bangladesh the third game at the Bay Oval against New Zealand today is one last opportunity for them to come out of that defeatist cycle going into a more demanding assignment -- the two-Test series.
Already 2-0 down in the three-match T20 series after a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series, Bangladesh have so far failed to make it a match against the Black Caps in each of the last five games despite showing signs of being competitive in patches of each game.
Their biggest problem has so far been the failure of the senior players and the inability to play a big innings. There was a considerable partnership in each game but not a single batsman was able to carry his bat till the end. The good news is that Soumya Sarker has hit some sort of form in the last game and his partnership with Sabbir Rahman in the last game is something the Tigers would desperately want to see again if they are to put up a competitive total.
Although a lot has been said about the trying conditions in New Zealand, the ground reality so far is that the wicket in the last five games was fantastic apart from that spongy bounce, while the weather was lot warmer than anticipated.
The wicket at the Bay Oval on Friday was an absolute belter. The only exception was the strong wind that the home side exploited very well. Besides that, while the Black Caps' spinners bowled intelligently, a high-profile Bangladesh spinner like Shakib Al Hasan was not in his usual element. He along with Mosaddek Hossain and Mahmudullah Riyad actually bowled to Colin Munro's strengths and the attacking left-hander gleefully accepted that on his way to a blazing hundred.
And with left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman likely to sit out the game as part of the team's policy of handling him with extreme care, Bangladesh's bowling needs to be more disciplined if they are to avoid chasing a score beyond 200.
If Mustafizur is rested, then Taskin Ahmed will return after missing out the first two T20Is.
However, the deciding factor for Bangladesh will be their top-order. It will have to click and someone must carry the bat till the end if they are to pull one game back against a ruthless home side.