'We missed Tamim' - Mushfiqur Rahim
Reflecting on his team's disappointing showing in the one-off Twenty20, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has said that they were missing Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order. Tamim had to pull out due to a knee injury and that led to Naeem Islam's promotion as the makeshift opener. The reshuffle impacted the team's performance in their chase of 136.
"Obviously we missed Tamim. When you see one of your best players are not playing before the match, you have to reshuffle your batting order," Mushfiqur said. "The player who usually bats at No.5 has to open so that becomes difficult. So that was a negative for us that Tamim did not play."
A victory margin of 50 runs in a Twenty20 game indicates that the bowling unit had a stranglehold over the batsmen in the second innings. In front of a large crowd and a wide-eyed media, after a bowling performance that aroused hope, not many escape, especially in Bangladesh.
The meek surrender - 85 for 9 in 20 overs - wasn't Bangladesh's lowest total in Twenty20s. It was disappointing to see a batting line-up time and again play in two-gears: if they don't find boundaries, they go into a shell. Today, they suffered the ignominy of treating a capacity crowd to just four boundary hits, and one that came off the hip.
"I think the batsmen should have taken more responsibility but they (Pakistan) bowled really well. We lost four wickets early which I wouldn't say were necessarily to poor shots. So after that we couldn't really go after the bowling," Mushfiqur said.
"Had we done so, we might have lost more wickets and been all out for 50-odd. They are one of the best sides in the world currently and they utilized the conditions here better than we did."
The start provided by Naeem and Imrul Kayes gave very little confidence to those who watched the game. Soon after Naeem exited for 3, Alok Kapali joined him in the dugout. What also hurt Bangladesh were the two run-outs. Imrul Kayes probably forgot to drag his bat into the crease as Mohammad Hafeez's throw came in from the inner ring. later, Mushfiqur was stranded mid-pitch after Nasir Hossain refused his single to short third-man.
Despite the poor outing, Mushfiqur was positive that a turnaround was possible, if the batsmen are ready to be patient.
"They had three of their batsmen scoring around 20. So it goes to show that if you go out there and stay at the crease and apply yourself then things could have been different for us," Mushfiqur said.
"We can definitely compete with them in the series. Even after batting so poorly we managed 80 (sic. 85) so if we had a top-order partnership then probably we would have needed 50 or 60 runs in the last seven or eight overs which wouldn't have been impossible."
It is back to basics for Bangladesh, for they will find boundaries hard to come by over the next three weeks in all formats.
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka