Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 1st ODI, Bulawayo May 3, 2013

Bangladesh must guard against complacency

With a 121-run loss in the first match, Zimbabwe have the motivation they need to pull up their socks. Bangladesh, on the other hand, must guard against complacency

Bangladesh's margin of victory was 121 runs but if the game was narrowed down to the two middle-order collapses, it was still touch-and-go. But Bangladesh recovered better to nudge out Zimbabwe. Those who have seen the two teams battle on this tour would know the visitors would do well to not rest on their laurels.

The home side have the motivation to improve their performances after a shoddy display. There's a precedent on this tour that the team with extra motivation has bounced back well in the next game, but complacency is also a challenge.

Even during Bangladesh's finest period in the field, the captain was aware of such slipping standards from his team. After the seventh Zimbabwe wicket fell for 93 runs, Mushfiqur Rahim cried out to his players to keep their focus and not take things for granted.

As it happened, and it has happened far too often before, the bowlers looked for wickets and the fielders relaxed. They gave away 55 runs in the eighth-wicket partnership between Malcolm Waller and Shingi Masakadza.

In the end, it may not have mattered much but this was one of the many moments when complacency crept into Bangladesh's game. They collapsed from 65 for no loss to 94 for 4 in the space of 7.3 overs. It was a sign that some of the batsmen either felt too relaxed against a slower bowling attack or were cowed down by the pressure.

Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful were certainly eyeing the bowlers to make big scores. They took it too easily, one thought, not pushing for the second or third run when available and trying instead to find the four-balls. It kept the run-rate on an even keel, but their approach held them back. The dismissals were reflective of their mindset, both offering catches to deliveries sliding down the legside.

Mushfiqur and Shakib Al Hasan, two senior batsmen who were among the trio to score two fifties in the Test series, fell in the space of five deliveries. Mushfiqur played too far from his body, though Shakib Al Hasan hardly had much to do with the calling in his run-out. Mominul Haque and Nasir Hossain, too, gave away their wickets, while Mahmudullah's slog didn't connect.

This meant all seven recognised batsmen were dismissed by their own shot selection (and poor calling), and the Zimbabwe bowlers had little to do. In fact, it was a relatively poor day for the Zimbabwe attack, as the bowlers gave away many freebies and wides, while bowling a predominantly legside line.

Their batsmen, on the other hand, suffered after losing their inspirational captain Brendan Taylor. From 78 for 2, they slipped to 93 for 7 in 6.3 overs. They looked rudderless without Taylor, as the likes of Sean Williams, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura departed quietly. Before them, it was Regis Chakabva and debutant Sikandar Raza, who left gaps between their bat and pad to be bowled by Shafiul Islam.

Nasir clinched the game for Bangladesh with his 68 but Ziaur Rahman, too, must be praised for his persistence with the ball, despite his limited pace and movement. He has now taken nine Zimbabwe wickets in consecutive innings, and this performance particularly highlights that the tour has been a battle of minds more than experience, form or quality.

Ziaur is, at best, a medium-pacer who can work his shoulder to generate some speed on the ball. But the home batsmen have found it hard to get him away, either trying to hit out or being too cautious. Bangladesh's batsmen have played Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara with a similar approach, too.

The Test series has been attritional with high competition in the early and middle part of matches before one side pulled away for a big win. Zimbabwe won the first Test by 335 runs before losing by 143 runs. Now they have lost badly in the first game and are likely to bounce back with more urgency.

In the middle of the IPL, these two teams have firmly kept their fans glued to the matches. The see-saw battle will continue for the rest of the series, but it will certainly be a series where common sense will be the defining factor for the team that emerges on top.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasser Anzum on May 4, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    I agree. Bangladesh players have the tendency to be complacent and sometimes take things easily. We've seen earlier that after getting 6-7 wickets down fielders and bowlers seem to relax. Both the games vs Pak in Asia cup, we'd have bowled them out quickly to win those. This is the area BD need to work out because you might've got rid of Zim, but to do well against top teams, we need to have the killer instinct and finish the game when opportunity rises.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    BD is not a team of only Shakib & Tamim anymore! Every one is a match winner, everyone is contributing for BD now! Nasir, Robiul, Mushfiq, Ziaur, Ashraful, Gazi, Razzak, Shafiul are doing in great guns! And still there are many great names likes Mashrafee, Anamul, Najmul are missing for injuries and other reasons and some young talented cricketers are also waiting in the pipeline! So, i see a great future for BD cricket!

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    Undoubtedly agreed, its mostly about attitude and mind set rather then talent and potential. Look at ziaur he is not very rich with talents but just did the basic right with the correct attitude. Anyway i just hope BD team will not be too high on the wins and then lose it all. Its better they win in little margin and that should keep them in the edge which will help them to perform. Best Luck Bangladesh!!!!

  • Ashqar on May 4, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    @joynul Abedin :: i have seen one game of IPL6(highlights of the match).....wanted to see how could someone make 175 runs in 20 overs and hit 17 six... :D

    And hope KKR will stay in the tournament until our Shakib al hasan back to IPL..same things goes for pune...!!

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    Well written piece like taking a well judged catch. It is the attitude of players that determines where the results will take them not that they make the result to come. Both sides are away from professionalism, may be Bangla tigers are ONE step ahead, not two of three.

  • Anand on May 3, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    Its really funny how IPL gets dragged into every conversation. When about a billion people are following it how does it matter when a few million are not?

  • Shabbir on May 3, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    Given the last two dominating performances from Bangladesh (The 2nd Test and now this ODI Match) The BD team should be encouraged to practice exactly what Mohammed Islam has written. Good shot selection, not too take the ZIM Bowling for granted and most of all professionalism.

    Shakib's dismissals in the 2nd Test, showed a lack of professionalism as he seemed to be getting bored and wanted a quick route to a ton... it wasn't going to happen. Mushi's shot selection today was very disappointing but I know he will be kicking himself very hard. As mentioned by many BD fans, Mominul's lack of experience in running between wickets need to be worked upon. Finally, Ashraful ... not a lot can be said about Ashrafu,l it has been said soooo many time before!

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    Nyc article Boss!!! I can't understand why our batsman throws their wicket always? Batting coach Cory should work on it vastly.

  • Shipu on May 3, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    I agree, next game is a NEW game and still need to up our A game because we yet again gave so many wickets away and if Bangladesh want to win on a more regular base then they must prevent that from happening. Nasir Hossain needs to bat 1 place higher in my opinion.