ICC World Twenty20 / Features

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Group F, Johannesburg

Shot selection bordering on the bizarre

Bangladesh offered a lesson in how not to plan a run-chase

S Rajesh in Johannesburg

September 18, 2007

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Bangladesh's reckless approach offered a lesson in how not to plan a run-chase © AFP
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If Pakistan showed earlier in the day how a cool head and calculated approach can make a challenging run-chase against a top bowling attack appear easy, Bangladesh, later in the evening, offered a lesson in how not to plan a run-chase. In a match where both sides showed a frenetic approach to batting with little rewards, Sri Lanka kept it together better in the field and managed to remain in the hunt for a semi-final berth.

The Twenty20 format by default encourages risk-taking, but some of the shot-making by both teams bordered on the bizarre. Sri Lanka were so choked by the slow bowling that they only managed ten fours and two sixes in the entire innings. Mahela Jayawardene, usually one of the most pleasing batsmen to watch, played the kind of scrappy innings that typified the entire match.

Throughout his 30-ball stint, he struggled badly for timing, often abandoning his natural style, which is all about touch and wristy strokeplay, and trying to bludgeon blows. He survived two catches, one run-out chance, and played several ungainly hoicks, most of them mistimed. The way he shook his head in dismay as he was walking back after being dismissed told the story of a batsman who was anything but happy with the way he had played.

Bangladesh, to their credit, bowled with excellent control - and their slow bowlers showed once again that the conditions here are ideal for bowlers who don't give the batsmen much pace to work with. Unfortunately, that was the only aspect of their game which was of international class. The fielding had too many holes - Mushfiqur Rahim's freak catch was a moment to cheer, but he missed a couple of other chances, while the rest of the fielding and catching was far too patchy.

Bangladesh have for long had problems deciding on the right pace for an innings. Against South Africa it was gung-ho and frenetic in the extreme, while against Australia it was so becalmed there was a danger of the innings going completely run-less

Where they let themselves down the most, though, was with the bat. Bangladesh have for long had problems deciding on the right pace for an innings. Against South Africa it was gung-ho and frenetic in the extreme, while against Australia it was so becalmed there was a danger of the innings going completely run-less. In both those games, though, they were batting first, which gave them the excuse of not knowing what sort of a target to aim at.

Here, though, there were no such issues. Sri Lanka had only managed 147, and an asking rate of 7.40 could have been achieved with some planning and a methodical approach - for reference, all they needed to do was follow Pakistan's approach from a couple of hours back.

Instead, Bangladesh - as they have often done in ODIs as well - went for the death-or-glory approach. Thus Aftab Ahmed carved three sensational fours within six balls of coming to the crease, and then, in a pattern that has become depressingly familiar, finished with an innings that had lasted less than two overs. Batsman after batsman followed the same approach, as if the aim was to finish it off in 15 overs. In the end they did finish it off in 15.5, but hardly in the manner they would have liked.

Sri Lanka will happily take this result, which makes their match against Australia on Thursday a virtual quarter-final. That the two teams that contested the World Cup final five months back are battling for a semi-final berth in this tournament tells its own story.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Tournament Results
India v Pakistan at Johannesburg - Sep 24, 2007
India won by 5 runs
Australia v India at Durban - Sep 22, 2007
India won by 15 runs
New Zealand v Pakistan at Cape Town - Sep 22, 2007
Pakistan won by 6 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
South Africa v India at Durban - Sep 20, 2007
India won by 37 runs
Bangladesh v Pakistan at Cape Town - Sep 20, 2007
Pakistan won by 4 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Cape Town - Sep 20, 2007
Australia won by 10 wickets (with 58 balls remaining)
More results »
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