Tigers heading to Napier for 31-0?

March 29, 2021

The Tigers sit at 30-0 after a crushing 66-run New Zealand win in the first of the three-match T20I series at the Seddon Park in Hamilton yesterday. It was the Tigers’ 30th international match across all formats against the Black Caps in their backyard and the outcome was as similar as it was in the other all games. Bangladesh T20I skipper Mahmudullah Riyad had said in a pre-match briefing that there were no big or small teams in the shortest format of the game, but there was no proof of his words in the field. Instead, he had to sing the same old song that Test captain Mominul Haque and ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal have been singing after every debacle. “We can’t afford to make the same mistakes again and again,” Mahmudullah said after the heavy defeat. He may not say anything new if things continue like this when the series moves to Napier on Tuesday and only a miracle can stop the scoreline reading 31-0 and the series being sealed with a match in hand. New Zealand went into the match without six frontline players, including Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, making it a game of debuts and comebacks for the hosts. But Devon Conway smashed an unbeaten 92 off 52 balls and Will Young struck a half-century on debut before Ish Sodhi (4-28) ran through visitor’s middle order to give New Zealand a comfortable win. So, there was reason for stand-in captain Tim Southee to say: “It’s great to be able to see guys come in and perform. If you had five or six guys out a few years ago, we would be scratching around but there’s a number of guys now knocking on the door.” Bangladesh’s debutant left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed had a wicket in his beautiful opening over, removing debutant Finn Allen for a first-ball duck. He later dismissed Matin Guptill, caught at long-off for a 27-ball 35, to finish with figures of 2 for 30. Afif Hossain (45) showed some resistance during his side’s abysmal batting performance. The team can take some positives from their performances if they want but it would be foolish to search for any hope from such sporadic performances. They have to look at the home side’s thoroughly professional performance from start to end. After the ODI whitewash, captain Tamim once again proclaimed: “We are a much better team [than this] but if we continue to play like this, we are going nowhere.” The problem is that the Tigers have to prove on the field that they are much better team than one would think after seeing their performances against all formats since returning to the international cricket after the hiatus brought on by the pandemic. But one thing for sure is if they continue to play like, Bangladesh cricket is going nowhere. It cannot be good enough to simply promise better following one poor performance after another as Mominul did following a 2-0 Test defeat at home in February this year, saying: “We have to work on our issues and plan things.”

-With The Daily Star input

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