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March 30, 2014
Things can't get worse for Bangladesh, their captain Mushfiqur Rahim admitted after they lost by 50 runs to Pakistan. "Losing by 50 runs in T20," he said, "is like losing by 100-150 in ODIs."
The margin of defeat might have been massive, but Mushfiqur said two overs - one from Ziaur Rahman that cost 22 runs and another from Mashrafe Mortaza that leaked 24 - made an inordinate difference to the result.
"I thought the spinners bowled very well - Shakib, Razzak and [Mahmudullah] Riyad - but one over from Mashrafe and one over from Zia cost us the match," he said. "When you are giving 20-odd runs in one over it's very difficult to come back.
"Ahmed Shehzad also batted really well throughout the innings, which didn't help us. I thought 160-170 could have been a different ball game. And also, in the batting we did not capitalise in the first six overs and also lost a couple of early wickets. We did not get the momentum; that is what we needed."
Bangladesh have not a disappointing World T20. They qualified for the Super 10 stage, but lost to Hong Kong along the way. Against the big teams, meanwhile, they have lost all their matches and lost them by sizeable margins.
"There are a few positives, I can say," Mushfiqur said, summing up the tournament which has one match remaining for them. "Our first target was to get through the first round, which we did. If we qualified we knew we would be in the big group with the big teams. But unfortunately we did not perform well.
"A couple of guys who didn't perform to their ability, and that is really very important. When someone is not scoring runs or bowling well, it is very difficult. If only one or two guys are playing well from the 11 it is very difficult. When you are playing against India, Pakistan, West Indies you have to play well as a team and have contributions from all batsmen and all bowlers. Really disappointing tournament so far, but we have one more game to go; we would really like to finish it well so that we can take some positives out of the last game."
Bangladesh, Mushfiqur said, lacked match-winners in the Twenty20 format.
"Against India, Pakistan or those teams, we have not been performing well in T20s," he said. "We don't have powerful batsmen down there or matchwinners, not four or five. There are a few but not like Ajmal, Afridi, Gul or Hafeez. We are really trying our best, but some of the boys are not in their peak form, so that doesn't help."
Without power hitters down the order, Mushfiqur said the top-order batsmen had to stay at the crease for the bulk of the innings, and had been failing to do so.
"Power hitting is of two types," he said. "One is you are set and playing in the middle overs and then there are players like Afridi, [Darren] Sammy who come in the death overs and in those three or four overs do their stuff. They probably hit sixes that are 10 or 15 meters longer, but it is counted only as six.
"But what I am saying is that our top batsmen are not able to play in the slog overs. So it is difficult for new batsmen to hit from the word go. And our seventh, eighth batsmen were not in form, so in that respect it is good that Riyad is playing well and Nasir [Hossain] also played well today. And it is not like we are not shuffling, Shakib played number three today. But our main planning was that those of us who play spin well get the most number of overs from spinners."
|We don't have powerful batsmen down there or match-winners, not four or five. There are a few but not like Ajmal, Afridi, Gul or Hafeez. Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh captain|
Mushfiqur did not believe dropping senior players who had not been performing, such as Tamim Iqbal, was the an option.
"I don't think dropping them is a solution, because I think you have to wait another eight to ten years to get another Mushfiq, Tamim or Shakib," he said. "The main solution is identifying which team combination will be able to play best against a particular team. If dropping is a solution, then why not? And no player is bigger than the team, there is nothing to say that he cannot be dropped. If our team management thinks that it would be good if he is dropped then that will happen. But I think those of us who are in the team, if we can play with more responsibility then it will be different."
Bangladesh, Mushfiqur conceded, did not have a team capable of consistently winning T20 matches against big teams. But he was disappointed they had not been able to compete against any of them.
"That was the expectation among the players as well," he said. "Apart from some matches I would not say we played too badly [this year, starting with the Sri Lanka series at home]. There was [the loss to] Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, the first ODI against Sri Lanka [where Bangladesh lost after having the opposition 67 for 8] and the Hong Kong match here.
"These three were a big shock that no one expected from us. In the last two years we were able to recover from bad performances. But no one expected us to lose those matches, and I think that has put us on the back foot mentally. It has been discussed a lot, which is why we were also under pressure."
This pressure, he said, wasn't allowing the players to express themselves. "When you are playing badly, then the enjoyment goes down. If you are not getting success, it is difficult to come back. In that respect we are not getting the results. So sometimes even if we have a plan our thinking in the crunch moments pans out differently. Everyone has it in the back of their minds that we have to win this match, we have to play well.
"So instead of thinking that, if we thought, this is a game, if we enjoy the challenge 100%, not throwing caution to the wind, but enjoying the occasion in such a big tournament with such big teams. If we play against these guys we can do something different and let's just see what happens.
"In the back of the mind that is the effort we are putting in, but when you are playing badly it becomes difficult to maintain it. I would say the process is okay but we are unable to execute it. Whether you play well or badly, the processes have to be right, because it is the small things that make a difference. Because we cannot do that, maybe that is why we are losing in such big margins."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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