Bangladesh v India, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 27, 2014

Mortaza expects better from opening batsmen


Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza has said that it is imperative the opening batsmen get off to a strong start in order to ease the pressure on the middle order, ahead of their game against table-leaders India. The openers Anamul Haque and Tamim Iqbal have averaged 30.50 in four T20s this year, but have come up short in the last two games.

Against Hong Kong, Tamim was dismissed in the first over, while against West Indies, the pair added just 14 runs. Tamim has scored just 56 runs in four innings but Anamul has been in good form in limited-overs cricket recently, with an average of 40.66 in the last four games.

"The Asia Cup was 50 overs, whereas here the batsmen get less time and they have to play shots from the start," Mortaza said. "This means there's a greater chance of getting out. Our batsmen couldn't start well in the last game. The middle order and the lower order also didn't score many. They are trying, no doubt about that. Everyone has their plans.

"We plan to start well tomorrow, to ensure we have a set batsman at the crease. At the moment, everything seems to be difficult. I feel that if we can start well tomorrow, it will be easier for us. We lost wickets early against West Indies and Hong Kong. I still believe that our batsmen can dominate top-class attacks."

Bangladesh batted well in their last meeting with India recently, when they posted 279 for 7 in the Asia Cup with Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a hundred and Anamul making 77. Virat Kohli, however, helped India chase it down with relative ease with an aggressive century.

There has been widespread criticism of the Bangladesh team off late, even from the BCB president Nazmul Hassan who said on Wednesday how disappointing it was to see the team go down easily against Hong Kong and West Indies.

Mortaza said the team must accept the criticism, and focus on being more competitive. "I think it is hard to comment on [what the BCB chief has said], as it is only natural for everyone to talk after these two losses. As players, we have to accept it. We have to try and turn it around from the next game. We had a long discussion with him, and he wants to help everyone.

"We have to agree that we lost the last two games badly. Firstly, we have to fight hard. Once we do that, we can play better. We have always won when we have given a good fight. We didn't do that in the last two matches."

Mortaza will be expected to give the team a good start with the ball, particularly with the seamer Al-Amin Hossain who bowled well against West Indies. However, Bangladesh may ultimately look to its spinners to respond in conditions that offer turn and bounce.

"Our spinners have always been a factor, though the pacers have to provide a good start. But when the spinners do well, we win games. We will still need a combined performance, as that often brings us wins. All the bowlers have to do well against India," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Suj on March 28, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Wow fans like Arman.SKCC how can you even think like that ... Most of you Bangladesh fans are unbelievably delusional and immensely disrespectful. This is the reason that fans from countries like Ind, Pak and SL can't stand most of you! It is one thing to be confident. It is another to be brash and arrogant! If your team wins it is a completely different matter. Ind has won heaps when it matters. Pak has won everywhere against everyonel. And SL? Well they make every competition final which they cannot do without being consistent which is not possible without winning. So when their fans boast they have actually got some back up. Past records. Consistent, contemporary performances. Statistics. Consistent game changers and proven match winners like a Dhoni or a Sangakkaara or an Afridi. But when Bangladesh fans make such silly predictions while losing to Afghanistan in an ODI and Hong Kong in a T20 and specially not having won a game against a top 8 in 2014 its just plain ridiculous!

  • Monjur on March 28, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    The fielding has also been a worry for BD. They are the second worst fielding side in this tournament. The first one is England.

  • Nasim on March 28, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    Anyway, the combination seems not to matter much now as we can understand from the Tigers' body language. The team is now shattered, thanks to BCB and Chief selector. One doth the scath and another hath the scorn. My only message to the Tigers is just play cricket and think cricket, forget about everything else (and please captain, be a little more positive while fielding). We are with you.

  • Nasim on March 28, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    Even if Abdur Razzak, despite poor form, was retained in BD eleven against WI, I'd understand but I never understood the mystery why Riyad keeps playing. It kept surprising me how Riyad, having not played even the Sri Lanka tests, suddenly becomes part and parcel of BD XI since. Instead of flogging a dead horse, BD should concentrate on Nasir. I'm very much confident that Mominul can become an effective T20I player, but given that BD didn't let him play many T20 in recent past (not even the practice matches!), he may not fire right away at that no. 3 position. Instead Shamsur should get a chance.

  • Noor on March 28, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    No hope at all for BD. They got talent as an individual, but they are no more good as a team. Worst fielding side on the earth. Missing catches became their profession. Unable to convert a good start by most of the batsman. Disappointed at lot, although don't wanna watch any match, I will switch on the TV for watching again.

  • Nasim on March 28, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    With Dhoni, Raina and Yuvraj, India left behind every shred of weakness from the Asia Cup squad and has come to this T20I world cup with one of the most balanced team especially for this venue. For me, Sri Lanka and India are the two best favorites for the final if they don't already meet in the semis. In last match against WI, very rarely, BD played almost the same XI that I'd prefer except that Riyad was in and Shamsur was out. From the available squad, my preferred XI (with exact batting order) against Ind is: 1. Tamim 2. Shamsur 3. Anamul 4. Mushfiq 5. Shakib 6. Sabbir 7. Nasir 8. Zia 9. Mashrafe 10. Gazi 11. Al-Amin

  • Arman on March 27, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    Do what ever you want; say whatever you say. But I think BD will definitely win this match against India.

  • Dummy4 on March 27, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    BCB president Nazmul Hassan should watch what he says about our team. As far as I'm concerned he has no clue about the game of cricket, wrongly appointed to his post and it is sad to hear demoralizing comment straight from the top. We need someone "like" Atahar Ali Khan to run BCB as president who is vastly experienced in the field and more importantly he is someone who understands the psychie of the players and the game as a whole in this part of the world. Political influence needs to leave Bangla cricket for good. It is really creating havoc in the whole process. Just blaming the players is like putting a blind eye on the real culprits who is polluting the system. We need a pollution free cricket.

  • M.G. on March 27, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    Besides batting start, bowler needs to be rotated, catches need to be undropped. body-languages need to be positive energetic, keep the morel high in your own backyard, spinners need to be mixed up earlier to keep run rate low, bowler needs to be in line and length, and the captain needs to be using his head in order to implement the above..... play sensibily, get a good game, then win or lose will matter little. Go Tigers.

  • Android on March 27, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    Everyone has to do well. Simple

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