Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 11, 2012

Mushfiqur blames inability to finish for loss

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has identified his side's inability to finish games as the reason why they struggle to beat the big teams. Bangladesh needed 39 runs off 40 balls, with five wickets in hand, to upset Pakistan in the Asia Cup opener, but lost a flurry of wickets to end 21 runs short. Mushfiqur said he was disappointed that senior players like Mashrafe Mortaza and Abdur Razzak did not show enough composure at the death, especially when they had a well-set Shakib Al Hasan at the other end.

"When we batted, Nasir [Hossain]'s dismissal was the turning point. Shakib and him were well set. We make mistakes in such situations. To beat big teams, you have to focus till the last ball.

"Mashrafe and Razzak are the senior-most players in our side, so we expected something from them. Shakib and Nasir had played well but once Nasir was gone, the rest of the batsmen could have taken a bit more responsibility by giving strike to Shakib."

Razzak and Mortaza were both dismissed looking for big shots when the asking-rate was around six an over and Shakib was past a half-century.

Before Shakib and Nasir's partnership, and the collapse that came after it, Tamim Iqbal had scored a half-century, a significant innings considering the controversy that surrounded his last-minute addition to the squad. Mushfiqur said Tamim had showed his ability with the innings.

"Tamim proved today he is a high-quality player. Players like Tamim and Shakib, they always prove their quality. The message given to him before this game was that only a cricketer like him can make a comeback in this manner."

Bangladesh had managed to keep Pakistan to 262 after the visitors were 135 for 0 at one stage, and Mushfiqur said his bowlers had done well to fight back. "It seemed like they'd score 280-300 the way they started but our bowlers made a good comeback. We chose to field after winning the toss. The pacers did well early on; their batsmen didn't get to play too many shots. We wanted one or two early wickets to put them under pressure."

The target could have been even smaller had Umar Gul not lifted Pakistan from 198 for 7 with some late hitting. Mushfiqur said the end overs were always a problem for Bangladesh, and they should have bowled better having caused the collapse in the middle overs. "We always have problems bowling in the Powerplay and slog overs. Today, we did well in the former but we bowled poorly in the last three overs. We should have bowled better after Misbah-ul-Haq got out. I think we conceded 20 extra runs.

"Mashrafe bhai bowled well in the first 8-9 overs but gave away some runs towards the end [16 in his 10th]. I think for a man who is returning, it is slightly difficult."

Mushfiqur defended the decision to go with six batsmen and the allrounder Nasir at No. 7, which allows the inclusion of three medium-pacers. "If we had taken an extra batsman or a spinner, the part-timers would have been used and that would have taken the total past the 280-mark. The six batsmen, if they had all batted well, would have been enough for the chase. But me, Tamim and Mahmudullah all got out in a short span. This combination of three seamers is quite good."

Edited by Dustin Silgardo