Defeat sums up our World T20 - Hathurusingha
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said his team's 75-run defeat to New Zealand on Bangladesh's independence day summed up their World T20 campaign - flashes of brilliant play that never evolved into complete performances.
"If you look at the start [today] we were a bit lethargic, we were lackadaisical in our fielding, then some brilliance in between with our bowlers and then we finished poorly with the bat," Hathurasingha said. "For me it sums up the whole World Cup - we had some brilliant moments, we were in the game, we were competitive but then again we were so [near yet so] far."
Hathurusingha faulted his batsmen's approach on a "two-paced" Eden Gardens surface where he reckoned New Zealand had scored about 20 runs too many. However, he disagreed with the suggestion that Bangladesh batsmen were a tad too indiscrete with their shots and not prepared to knuckle down. "We are disappointed with how we approached the total," he said. "If we had about 120 [to chase] it could have been a different story but then again I can say that we didn't [play] intelligently enough to chase this score down.
"The batting approach was wrong and the conditions were not easy because the wicket was slowing down. [But] all credit to New Zealand's bowlers. They read the conditions well and Kane Williamson used the bowlers very well.
"We batted well in most matches according to the conditions and I thought we batted well apart from this game and the Australia game, [where] we should have got little more runs at the start."
Hathurusingha also defended slotting Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim down the order - they came out to bat at numbers six and seven respectively against New Zealand - as a necessary gambit to close out games, particularly in the absence of many quality batsmen at their disposal. "We want our experienced batsmen to finish the game that's the reason Riyad [Mahmudullah] and Mushi were there," he said.
"In a team we need to have some kind of roles according to their strengths. Of course we agree we don't have many world-class players but we are trying to manage [with] what we have to the best of our abilities. That's the reason why we have tactically used certain players in certain places."
His reasoning for picking Shuvagata Hom ahead of Nasir Hossain, who played only game in the first round, was vaguer, though. Hathurasingha felt it was a "management decision" based on Hom providing better "all-round" balance. While Hom managed only 29 runs from three innings in the World T20, he was slightly more successful with the ball with an economy rate of 6.62 from eight overs.
Hathurasingha said Bangladesh's win-less campaign was not a fair reflection of the gains they had made over the last two years, and conceded that they had a "hell of a lot" to improve upon. "I won't say we are back to square one," he said. "We have shown some improvement in T20 cricket than before but we competed with some very good sides like Australia and India, and we were in a tough group as well.
"I think we need to improve a hell of a lot specially the little things, the one-percenters. And then we have enough skill in this group to compete and probably win something very soon. Our average score [in the past] was 135-136 but now we score [a] little more than that even on difficult wickets.
"Our bowling has improved. Our planning was pretty good and players are improving. That's all I can ask. Results will come but if you are expecting results sooner it is difficult because there are good teams in our group. But then again we could have done much better in some other games."
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun