‘Even bad performances have limits’

March 31, 2014

Mushfiq says Tigers leave no stone unturned
Being the captain of the Bangladesh cricket team is always a tough job. It gets tougher when one needs to explain the reason for defeat every alternate day. This is what Mushfiqur Rahim has been doing for quite some time, precisely since the last game of the first round against Hong Kong. But it seems he is also now running out of fuel. The Tigers left no stone unturned to put their recent dismal performances behind them, yet they were unable to find a solution.
After the latest 50-run bashing by Pakistan on Sunday in Mirpur, a clueless Mushfiq was left wondering what else can be done to find a winning formula and bring some smiles back on the faces of their fans.
Bangladesh made one or two changes in every game, sometimes reshuffling the batting order only to see batsmen faltering against gentle bowling and bowlers giving some cheap runs to the opponents. The fielding has been the worst of the three departments, as they have kept dropping a catch or two in every game.
In all six matches of the tournament, Bangladesh’s batsmen could not score a single fifty, while the bowlers conceded 190-plus runs against West Indies and Pakistan.
Bangladesh’s biggest problem is opening, largely because of the poor form of Tamim Iqbal, once their most trusted opener, who has not survived five overs in any of Bangladesh’s last four matches.
It was even a surprise to see him against Pakistan, though Mushfiq defended his selection.
‘It’s not that a lot of change will bring about different results,’ said Mushfiq. ‘We are trying to form a combination. And in the T20 format you sometimes have to play contrary to your character.
‘You sometimes need to score quick runs and the bowlers are under pressure from the first ball. We have tried almost everything and maybe there is nothing left to try,’ said Mushfiq.
The skipper rather pointed his finger at the bowling, particularly the two overs of Ziaur Rahman and Mashrafee bin Murtaza, which allowed Pakistan to score 190-5 and take the game beyond Bangladesh’s reach.
Zia conceded 22 runs in his only over – the 13th of the innings – and Mashrafee released 24 in the 19th before finishing with 0-63, the worst bowling figures by a Bangladeshi bowler in the Twenty20 format.
‘But even in the bad performances there are limits,’ said Mushfiq. ‘In one over bowlers can get hit, but if it is kept down to 15 or 16 then it is still possible to make a comeback. But if in two overs you give 45-50 runs then it is difficult to come back from that.’
Ahmed Shehzad feasted on the bowling to score an unbeaten 111 off 62 balls, the first century by a Pakistani batsman in the Twenty20 International format and only the sixth in the history of the World Twenty20.
Two of these six centuries were struck against Bangladesh, with New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum’s 123 off 58 balls at Pallekele in 2012 being the other.
‘We have seen how many runs can be scored if a set batsman bats throughout, but other teams have been doing that against us, unfortunately we have not done it,’ said Mushfiq. ’In T20s if you want to play well, especially on these spinning tracks, one among the top four has to bat throughout. That is not happening.
‘We will try to play the right combination in the last game, keeping in mind that it is against Australia,’ said Mushfiq.
Pakistan 190-5 in 20 overs (A Shehzad 111 not out, S Malik 26, S Afridi 22; Razzak 2-20, Sakib 1-21) v
Bangladesh 140-7 in 20 overs (Sakib 38, Nasir 23; U Gul 3-30, S Ajmal 2-20)
Result: Pakistan won by 50 runs
Man of the match: A Shehzad (PAK).

-With New Age input

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