Tamim rues fielding mishaps
How many times did sloppy fielding cost Bangladesh a game? The number is definitely more than a handful. And once again, the five-wicket loss to Zimbabwe in the three-match ODI series opener at the Harare Sports Club yesterday was mostly due to a lacklustre display from Bangladesh's fielders, at least according to Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal.
"This was one of those days [when fielding cost us the game]," a dejected Tamim said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "Almost every day, I talk about our fielding. It was going to be the cause of our downfall someday. It was one of those days. We dropped catches a number of times in T20Is in the past, but somehow won those games. But when you drop four catches on such a good wicket, you won't be able to win matches. It seems like we have to think about this issue [fielding] before the next game," Tamim added.
Bangladesh dropped catches at crucial junctures of the game, letting go of chances to send back both centurions Sikandar Raza and Innocent Kaia, who snatched the game away.
Off a Taskin Ahmed delivery, Taijul Islam, who was on the field as a substitute fielder for injured Liton Das, dropped Raza on 43 in the 27th over of the game. Had that been taken, things would have been significantly harder for Zimbabwe as they would have needed to score at a rate closer to 7.5 runs an over with just six wickets in hand to assail Bangladesh's 304-run target.
But Raza stayed till the end, scoring an unbeaten 135 off 109 deliveries and taking Zimbabwe over the line with a massive six – his sixth of the innings – in the penultimate over.
Bangladesh also dropped the other centurion of the game, Kaia, on 74 and 70. In fact, Shoriful Islam injured himself trying to grab a return catch off his own bowling and could not even complete his 10-over spell. Kaia, who eventually scored his maiden ton in his fourth ODI, also survived a missed stumping.
To make the matters worse, Luke Jongwe, who stitched a crucial 42-run stand with Raza at the death, was dropped when Zimbabwe needed just 15 off 23 deliveries.
But Tamim was disappointed by other aspects beyond the dropped catches.
"We gave away easy runs. It's a big ground so taking doubles is normal. That did not bother me. What bothered me is that we weren't even able to stop the easy ones and build pressure with dot balls," Tamim added.
Barring an unfortunate injury to Liton, it was one of the most compact batting displays from the Tigers in recent times. However, Tamim still felt that his side fell 15-20 runs short.
"We should have scored 15-20 runs more. We were around 250 runs for the loss of just one wicket. We should have accelerated from such a position to score those extra 15-20 runs. Batting first, the bowlers get some assistance in the first 10-12 overs on such pitches. Then it becomes easier for batters. We handled the initial overs well and even had a few crucial partnerships. But we could not finish well," Tamim regretted.
Bangladesh face Zimbabwe in the second ODI tomorrow and will hope to bounce back with a win in their most preferred format.