Demon in the pitch or minds?

November 30, 2011

The Tigers’ 50-run defeat to Pakistan in yesterday’s Twenty20 could be a recurring theme (nightmare, whatever you want to call it) for the next three weeks but the nature of capitulation must be less frustrating if the home side are to end 2011 with a smile on their face.
To be on top of the most successful Twenty20 team in the world for one and a half hours could have buoyed a team that often feed on instant inspiration but it was, evidently, not enough. On a wicket described as “difficult” by both captains, the Bangladesh batsmen simply gave in to what they perceived as a bridge too far.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim’s comments ahead of the game, that Bangladesh cricket has crossed the respectable loss barrier, sounded encouraging but in essence that is what unfolded at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
“We weren’t negative today [Tuesday]. 130-odd wasn’t very difficult to chase down. The plan was to try and build a partnership early in the innings and not lose too many wickets early on. Had we stayed steady and not lost too many wickets, then even if the run-rate exceeded eight we could have gone after the total. But that didn’t happen unfortunately,” said a frank Mushfiqur at the end of the game.
In the absence of Tamim Iqbal, the new pair barely put the ball into the gaps. Naeem Islam became Umar Gul’s in-ducking fodder and after failing to find a decent gap for 24 minutes, Imrul Kayes ran himself out carelessly.
“Tamim was perfectly fine last day during practice. But this morning he complained saying he had some problem with his knee. We waited till the toss but he failed in the warm ups today, thus he was unable to play.
“Obviously we missed Tamim, when you see one of your best players pulling out before the match, you have to reshuffle your batting-order. The player that usually bats at No. 5 has to open so that becomes difficult,” explained Mushfiqur when quizzed on the missing left-hander at the top of the order.
Alok Kapali and Shakib Al Hasan, both of whom bowled so beautifully, fell to man-of-the-match Mohammad Hafeez who would take most of the credit for the second victim as Kapali merely chipped a straight one to mid-wicket’s hands.
Afterwards, Mushfiqur’s unfortunate run-out was as much heart-breaking as it was vital. Known as a man who takes a failure to heart quite easily, the skipper ran down the wicket only to find Nasir Hossain stuck at the non-striker’s end. It seemed Mushfiqur thought that Imran Farhat had caught the ball at short third-man but later, he clarified that it was just a poor call that did him in.
Pakistan, on the other hand, had little confusion as they overrode a modest batting performance with a clinical bowling performance, surprisingly headed by Hafeez.
“We saw patches on the wicket on which the ball was bouncing and turning. So it was a good idea to start with the spinners, especially hafeez, for the way he bowls. He bowls wicket to wicket and gets a bit of bounce and turn,” said captain Misbahul Haq.
“If you consider the wicket, I think the batsmen did a pretty good job for the way they got the start. There was a little trouble in the middle overs which cut down the score by 10-12 runs. Scoring 140-150 could have been a brilliant job.”

-With The Daily Star input

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