Bangladesh paid the ultimate price for sloppy fielding and made it quite easy for India to overwhelm them by 45 runs in the opening match of Asia Cup 2016 at Mirpur stadium yesterday.
Shakib Al Hasan’s epic drop when Rohit Sharma was on 21 in the 11th over was the turning point of the match in hindsight. Rohit went on to blast 62 more runs, ending at 83 from 55 balls. The ground fielding of Tigers was disappointing to say the least, and the trailer of a horror show came early, third over to be precise.
An unnecessary fling from the covers conceded two overthrows in the last ball of the third over bowled by Taskin Ahmed. Rohit top-edged a pull off Mashrafe in the fifth over, but the fielder at deep midwicket couldn't get under it in time. A dive at the last moment was needed but the fielder faltered.
When Mustafizur was bowling at Yuvraj Singh in the 14th over, a bad miss by the fielder at mid-off allowed the batsman to pick up a boundary. When Rohit and Pandya were throwing the kitchen sink late in the innings, pressure got to the Bangladeshi fielders and they cracked…the bowlers also lost their plot and gave away 79 runs in the last five overs!
In the 16th over, Rohit Sharma came down the track to Mashrafe Mortaza and lofted the ball straight down the ground. Shakib’s jump wasn’t good enough to prevent the six. The ball kept following Shakib wherever he went, and exposed the allrounder’s lact of athleticism time and time again.
17th over, the one that ruined Mustafizur Rahman’s bowling figures with 21 runs also featured Shakib in another bloopers’ highlight reel. Rohit opened up and flick-pulled a short ball from Mustafizur. Shakib fancied his chances again, got his hands but clumsily pushed the ball over the boundary. He could neither take the catch or prevent the six. Considering some spectacular catches at the boundary taken in T20 in recent times, Shakib’s effort left a lot to be desired. He lost his edge…
The fielding-horror show continued in the next over when a half-hearted attempt at a catch by Taskin Ahmed produced two runs. Taskin misjudged the catch, overran the ball and was made to look silly doing the clean-up job. Throwing from the deep was mostly wayward and lacked the intensity of the occasion. Slow and sloppy fielders allowed Pandy and Rohit to convert ones into two, and take them on.
The miserable day on the field was probably summed up by the last ball of India’s innings, when their captain smashed the short-pitch rubbish from Al-Amin into the stands, and end on a high. Bangladesh’s death over bowling, that too in a 20-over game was shocking as bowlers dished up length balls for Indian batters to go for the swing! As it turned out, they connected more often than not.
Mashrafe didn't blame Shakib for dropping Rohit Sharma's chance at point in the 11th over during the post-match press brief.
"[Dropped catch] is part of the game," Mashrafe said. "We can't really do much about it. A catch can be missed. He is one of our best fielders and I wanted him at point in that over because from the 12th or 13th over in T20s, we usually have most of our better fielders in crucial positions in the deep," reports ESPNcricinfo
Instead of pointing fingers at a single offender, the overall standard of fielding must be on captain Mashrafe’s mind. He knows if the boys don’t pull up their socks, another humbling may be on the cards later in this Asia Cup. With the ICC T20 World Cup in March, Bangladesh need to lift themselves up as a fielding unit. If not, their opponents will make them pay through their nose, just like Rohit Sharma did on February 24, 2016.