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Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
March 16, 2014
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said they perished under pressure although they had talked up the weight of expectations on the home side. Gracious under fire, Nabi said that his team wasn't overconfident, and praised Bangladesh's spinners.
This was the fourth time Afghanistan were bowled out for less than 100 runs in T20 internationals , three of them now coming against Test-playing nations.
"We didn't handle the pressure well so we lost," Nabi said. "We enjoyed the big game, the pressre game. We weren't overconfident. It's a part of the game. Today Bangladesh played very well, that's why they won the game. Otherwise we are not a team to lose like this. The conditions, the pitch was a little too difficult as well."
Despite the talk of building pressure on Bangladesh, Afghanistan themselves were troubled by a big loss to Zimbabwe in the warm-up game two days ago, and a worrying batting trend against spin. All of these problems came together for Afghanistan on an important occasion.
The ball did turn from the start, even when Nabi and Karim Sadiq bowled early in the Bangladesh innings. Nabi also defended his batsmen when asked if their aggressive approach was wrong. However, he said the batsmen would have to work on their approach against quality spinners.
"We didn't expect that kind of a pitch too much but they bowled very well and got the extra bounce so we struggled in the middle," he said. "If we had scored a bit more, it could have been a good game.
"Since the Asia Cup, we have been struggling against quality spinners. We will try to improve against them. We will try our best to be stronger in the next two games. We just threw one or two wickets away, [Mohammad] Shehzad and Gulbadin [Naib]. Otherwise, two run outs and two good balls. We can't play like that. We need to improve," he said.
Following Shahzad's first-ball dismissal, Najeeb Tarakai and Gulbadin Naib staged a recovery by adding 36 before the latter gave Sabbir Rahman a chance to make amends after dropping him the previous ball. It triggered a collapse, from which they never recovered.
Nabi said they are now pinning their hopes on a Bangladesh loss to either Nepal or Hong Kong, which would reopen their bid for the main draw. "We will try our best to win both games," Nabi said. "It's cricket, nothing can be said. If Bangladesh lose one game, we might come back."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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