Glimpses shown but concerns remain
It was proved yet again that early momentum helps Bangladesh as a decent opening stand on Monday prevented any batting mishaps for the Tigers in their Super 12 clash against the Netherlands, which they won by nine runs at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart to kick off their T20 World Cup campaign.
After months of experiments, Bangladesh thinks tank finally went with a conventional opening pair consisting specialist openers Najmul Hossain Shanto and Soumya Sarkar against the Netherlands yesterday and the tactic eventually worked well.
Interestingly, the Soumya-Shanto duo was the tenth pair that the Bangladesh team management tried this year in 17 games.
And the 43-run opening stand against the Netherlands was the highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in the last 30 T20Is. Bangladesh did suffer a mini-collapse in the middle but eventually coasted to a competitive 144 for eight in 20 overs.
Soumya was the first to depart, falling after a run-a-ball 14 in the sixth over. Shanto, who looked good during his 20-ball 25, soon followed suit as he departed in the very next over.
The Tigers endured a tumultuous period as they lost a total of five wickets in between 5 to 11 overs and were reduced to a precarious 76 for five.
It seemed like another batting debacle was on the cards when the two in-form batters of the side -- Liton Das and skipper Shakib Al Hasan -- perished in consecutive overs.
"We kept losing wickets at regular intervals and that wasn't helping us. We knew that a score around 155 would have been a great total and we came up 10 runs short," said Shakib during the post-match presentation ceremony yesterday.
After losing wickets in quick succession, it was Afif Hossain who threw a counterpunch. The young left-hander struck leg-spinner, Shariz Ahmed, for two sixes, rasing hopes of the crowd who had gathered to witness the Tigers play even on a gloomy day in Hobart.
Afif did ride his luck, being dropped on 28. But the left-hander capitalised on the opportunity as he top scored with 38 off 27 balls and also starred in a crucial 44-run sixth-wicket stand with wicketkeeper-batter Nurul Hasan Sohan
But when Afif was dismissed in the 18th over with the scoreboard reading 129 for seven, there were still concerns in the Bangladesh camp about whether the score would reach or go past the 140-run mark.
Bangladesh's ploy of employing a deep batting line-up worked as Mosaddek Hossain, who came in at number eight, came up with some lusty blows at the death, including a six in the final over, to see the Tigers reach a commendable total.
However, the fact that the fast bowlers, especially Taskin Ahmed, had to step up with some encouraging display to ensure a victory against an associate nation was enough to drive home the point that, despite a decent opening stand and a few knocks in the middle, there still remain concerns regarding the Tigers' batting department.