'Don't want to single out one player for loss' - Hathurusingha
Even as Nasir Hossain conceded 18 runs in the last over of the match and Anamul Haque played out a scratchy innings during his 51-ball stay, captain Mashrafe Mortaza and coach Chandika Hathurusingha said the entire team had to be held accountable for their three-wicket loss to Zimbabwe in the second T20.
While 135 was not a challenging total to defend, Bangladesh still had Zimbabwe in their grip until Nasir gave away 18 runs in four balls of the last over despite taking the wicket of top-scorer Malcolm Waller off the first ball of that over to swing the momentum their way.
Neville Madziva did the damage, hitting Nasir for two sixes and a four at the most crucial time. After the first six over cover off the second ball, Mashrafe was seen coming over to Nasir to have a word but the captain later said that the message to the bowler was to relax since this was his first time in such a situation.
"I told him to bowl normally as he always does," Mashrafe said of Nasir. "We didn't have many options, perhaps [Mahmudullah] Riyad. I told Nasir to relax, because he is not used to bowling in those times. I wanted him to bowl as he pleased. I left it to him, to bowl in his own way and be successful. I still believe he is a good bowler."
Hathurusingha had earlier said that he would not blame Anamul for playing 51 deliveries to make 47 runs, but he expected a batsman to score at a strike rate of over 120 when he had faced at least 30 deliveries. In Anamul's case, he should have scored 60-plus, going by those calculations. He, however, struggled to get the boundaries, and played out 18 dot balls.
"I just don't want to single out one player, I think we didn't bat well as a group," Hathurusingha said. "Ideally when someone bats anything over 30 balls I would expect them to score at 120-plus strike rate. We had around 53 dot balls and it is very hard to win games unless the wicket is really bad."
The difficulty arose when Anamul could not score a single boundary in Bangladesh's biggest partnership, the 39-run stand he had with Sabbir Rahman, who also struggled to find his rhythm. Mashrafe said that Anamul could not rotate the strike but it was hard to blame him since he had not played too many international games recently.
"Bijoy (Anamul) couldn't rotate the strike despite staying long at the wicket," Mashrafe said. "But there is no point blaming him. We didn't bat well collectively. As the coach said, a batsman who plays 30-40 balls must have a 125-130 strike rate. The whole team may have wanted it but he couldn't do it. I think it is best to say that the whole team batted poorly."
Hathurusingha said that the next couple of months would be important for the management to find the best combination, but at the same time he wanted the batsmen to find out their own individual ways to build T20 innings. He said since all the members of this T20 team had played very few T20s, they would have to look forward and find a way out.
"As a batting unit we need to find our best approach individually, as a group also," he said. "Individual players should understand how to build T20 innings. I don't think we still have found our way out. The next two months leading up to the Asia Cup, we need to do a lot of work on mental approach and the skill.
"It is an uphill task for us because we don't have much T20 matches coming up. As a team we can't blame the players also. We haven't played much T20 cricket leading up to this match. Even in domestic cricket I heard they played the last domestic tournament in 2013. So unless you play, you don't find your best approach. It's a big task but it's not impossible."
Perhaps they will now all look at the performances in the BPL to better prepare for next year's Asia Cup and the subsequent World T20.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84