New Zealand in Bangladesh 2013-14 November 6, 2013

T20 loss highlights Bangladesh's deficiencies in format

Bangladesh made improvements in the Tests and ODIs against New Zealand but the loss in the only T20I reflected a deeper problem of the side's ability to understand and cope with the nuances of cricket's shortest format

Losing the one-off Twenty20 game against New Zealand has put a slight dampener on what Bangladesh have achieved over the last four weeks. Despite the drawn Test series and 3-0 whitewash in the ODIs, the hosts went back to their listless ways in the shortest format of the game.

Bangladesh have now lost seven of their last eight T20s, and with the World T20s just four months away, questions are being asked of the team's temperament and their ability to grasp the nuances of T20 cricket.

"To be honest, we still cannot understand this format of the game," Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, said. "You can always say that we fought with the bat but if we play like this, we cannot improve. We need to bring more maturity in our planning and also in our power-hitting and that's what we can earn by playing more matches. Even if we don't win them, we can at least understand the game."

Bangladesh have already criticised the format of the 2014 World T20s because it has pitted them against three Associate Nations in the first round, and while it can seen as a bit of an affront for the host nation of such an event, there is a deeper problem facing the team - they are unsure if they can shorten the gulf between them and their opponents in a T20 game.

On Wednesday, Mushfiqur was left frustrated by a bowling performance that lacked discipline, and a batting effort that was directionless despite having a target in front of them.

"We didn't bowl according to plans and gave away 20 extra runs. We haven't become a Twenty20 side of note. You cannot expect a team to win a Twenty20 match four or months after they play their last game.

"We have to play more Twenty20s, so that we can react to every situation. We should be able to handle the pressures of match situation."

The New Zealand openers scored 70 runs in the batting Powerplay and ended up on 204 for 5, to which Bangladesh replied recklessly in a gung-ho fashion. They lost two wickets in the first over, followed by a third in the second. Two partnerships followed but again, they didn't rely on anything other than boundaries.

Bangladesh struck 18 fours and eight sixes during their 189 for 9, while the visitors blasted one extra six in their total. New Zealand, like any reasonable Twenty20 side, knew how to pace their 20 overs, while in contrast, the hosts looked lost.

"We cannot bat this way all the time. It was an unusual way to bat. We cannot do well by batting like this. We need to rotate the strike more, build an innings after early loss of wickets. Who will attack, who will play the anchor role. But I think we need to practise more of these situations.

"We can't attack every ball, that's not my natural batting or Naeem bhai's or any of our batsmen's. I doubt we can click if we play like this in the future. We had lost too many wickets early on. In the last two overs, if we had a set batsman, I think we could have chased down the last 22 runs [needed in the last over]."

One would imagine that the Bangladesh team would still leave the Shere Bangla National Stadium a happy lot. They were presented the ODI series winners' trophy by the country's prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.

Mominul Haque, Sohag Gazi, Shamsur Rahman and Rubel Hossain have become key performers in the side. Tamim Iqbal's new sense of responsibility, Mushfiqur Rahim's leadership and Mashrafe Mortaza's trouble-free comeback are the other positives that Bangladesh can take away from this series.

Ultimately though, it will be the 3-0 ODI triumph and the 0-0 in the Test series that will matter the most to Bangladesh cricket. T20 cricket will remain a headache for Bangladesh, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for the side. Players, coaches, officials and administrators quickly lose confidence when things don't go right for a short time, and they get a sense of complacency in success. The T20 loss can keep them grounded and busy, and help them prepare for the 2014 World T20s.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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