3-D improvement of the essence after mixed bag displays
Bangladesh's performance in the Asia Cup was a mixed bag despite their painful exit from the tournament last night. The Tigers lost their opening fixture against Afghanistan despite putting up a fight with the ball until the last stages while the tumultuous exit against Sri Lanka saw their batting effort improve considerably but death-over nerves saw the match escape from them.
The fielding department still needed work with attacking the ball and high-catching. There were sharp fielding efforts from the likes of Afif Hossain, Sabbir Rahman and Taskin Ahmed but, in general, the team needed to upskill in the fielding department, although it has to be said that the Tigers' fielding effort in this tournament showed signs of improvement. Taskin took some brilliant catches under pressure yesterday night but behind the stumps, Mushfiqur dropped a regulation catch, unable to cause Kusal Mendis' dismissal in two attempts.
The bowling department was where Tigers fell short in the tournament. In the spin department, Mahedi Hasan, known for his skills in the slog overs, gave away loose deliveries and also overstepped to let Sri Lanka escape. Nasum Ahmed did not feature in any game while Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Mosaddek Hossain were not relied upon enough, perhaps due to the conditions. Skipper Shakib Al Hasan bowled well in the first game but could not hold his own when the Lankans picked him off for runs yesterday.
The pace department would be worried despite promising performances in the tournament. Mohammad Saifuddin felt the heat as Afghan batters dictated terms against him, leading to him being dropped for the Sri Lanka match. Ebadot Hossain saw both sides of the coin in his T20I debut last night.
He got Bangladesh back into the match, picking up three wickets in his first two overs for 13 runs. However, his last two overs produced 38 runs as Sri Lanka batters picked off his length to use the pace of deliveries while he was wayward in his debut, conceding six wides and two no-balls.
Shakib said the bowler had a lot to learn from the game. "This type of pressure situation in a big game was a first for him [Ebadot] and there is a lot to learn from this game. He brought us back in the match with his first two overs and we felt the day belonged to him or that he will be our best bowler. One can expect as he had bagged three wickets in his first two overs and that he will be mentally in a good state in such a situation, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I think he will learn a lot from this game," Shakib said after the match yesterday regarding Ebadot.
Taskin Ahmed put in a good effort with the ball and was unlucky of not getting the wicket of Mendis yesterday after Mushfiqur's drop. He was counted on during the tough situations and did not disappoint the skipper by not going for runs. The biggest concern would be Mustafizur Rahman's performances. He often provided deliveries right in the slot for batters while the yorker, which served him so well in the initial years of his career, seems to be missing.
In the batting department, both the opening slots had to be changed after the first game given the lack of intent from Anamul Haque Bijoy and Mohammad Naim. Mehedi and Sabbir were sent in to open against Sri Lanka with the former contributing with an effective knock. It remains to be seen whether the Tigers can solve their opening slot problems going forward after the likes of Liton Das return to action.
Mushfiqur did not get amongst the runs in the middle-order but Mahmudullah Riyad was able to stitch together partnerships in the middle overs. Both seniors had been struggling with runs ahead of the series. Afif contributed in a major way to Bangladesh posting a big total on the board yesterday and will be counted on in the future. Mosaddek was the most promising star with the bat, hitting 48 in the first game before his cameo of 9-ball 24 saw Bangladesh finish the innings on a high. The overall batting effort showed intent, which was a positive.
There are some tweaks and changes that the Tigers will be looking to make after churning out positive performances. It will be apparent whether they bank on youth for the next assignments in the coming days. If they are to do well going forward, it has to come as a unit and improvements in all three departments would help in a big way.