Bangladesh need aggressive, but responsible batting - Coach
Bangladesh are slowly mastering the Twenty20 approach to batting but as Wednesday night showed, they are still prone to getting their calculations wrong. Unlike Sri Lanka, who found a way back in Chittagong after losing their way in the middle overs, Bangladesh usually go down quickly when they face a good spell of bowling, which in Twenty20s, can also be a single over.
Tamim Iqbal fell to a superb Angelo Mathews catch while Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain fell at critical times in the 169-run chase - in the 14th and 17th overs. Tamim failed at the pull, Shakib at the slog and Nasir at clearing the straight field.
Bangladesh's batting coach Corey Richards said that aggressive strokeplay should be complemented by caution at all times. Bangladesh batsmen have the habit of waiting for boundary balls in all formats, cutting out other options like an aggressively run single or two.
"Our philosophy is to promote aggressive but responsible batting, and by that allowing the players to express themselves but with a common sense approach," Richards said. "Sometimes if you play aggressively without responsibility then that is when you can become reckless, which is what we have been guilty of in the past and what we are trying to rectify within the players' mentality. It is important to have an aggressive mindset, but to play percentage cricket at the same time."
For Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka's assistant coach, batting in Twenty20s is all about keeping the mind uncluttered, especially if those in the middle have enough confidence. "It is about picking the right guys to perform at this format," Atapattu said. "You (need to) have people who are in the right frame of mind and who have the right mental capacity to try and execute skills under pressure.
"The game moves so quickly, you should be able to express yourself freely. Whoever is willing to do that, they can be successful," he said.
It is slightly more challenging for Richards, who has to correct the wrong habits that players have developed, and make sure they don't come back even in the nets. "Good habits come from practicing with intent, being specific and under match simulation.
"From a coaching side of things, one has to continually communicate with the player on what they are trying to do regarding the plans," he said.
Richards believes that by bringing in Sabbir Rahman in the batting line-up, Bangladesh can have two attacking batsmen in the end overs, instead of just Nasir.
"I think that someone like Sabbir Rahman has shown at domestic level that he is a good finisher and if those two [Sabbir and Nasir] are in at the death then it will be good to watch.
"It is important that the tail has the ability to clear the ropes and with [Farhad] Reza, [Sohag] Gazi and Mashrafe, we have three of those guys if required," he said.
Coaches will talk about plans and how they ought to be executed, and it can sometimes be mind-numbing. But for a team like Bangladesh, gaining a lot of information about themselves gives them confidence. Atapattu's batsmen can bank on that given their quality and volume of experience, but it is one game at a time for Richards' batsmen.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here