Bangladesh's captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, has backed his decision to bowl against New Zealand despite every previous T20I played at Pallekele having been won by the side batting first. There was thick cloud cover over the ground at the time of the toss and Brendon McCullum said the possibility of rain and Duckworth-Lewis could have figured in Bangladesh's calculations. All that ceased to matter soon as McCullum cracked his second T20I century to set up New Zealand's 59-run win.
"We were uncertain ourselves about what to do at the toss with rain about," McCullum said. "It may have arrived at some point. It's a well-known fact that Duckworth-Lewis favours the team which is going to bat second, especially this form of the game. It [Bangladesh's decision] didn't surprise me a great deal. When they bowled in the first over or so the ball was kissing off quite nicely so they would have been reasonably pleased with that decision."
Mushfiqur, too, pointed to the way his bowlers had started off as vindication for his decision but said McCullum's innings had taken everything else out of the equation. "We wanted to chase," he said. "You see the way our bowlers bowled in the first two overs... they started well. Thereafter Brendon batted superbly and showed why he is the No. 1-ranked batter in T20 cricket.
"Our quicks and spinners did not bowl to the field. Also our fielding let us down. If we had restricted them to around 160 then it would have been a different ball game. While chasing 192, it was always going to be hard once we lost a couple of wickets. It was really difficult.
"We were not going to have a lot of turn in the second half, so we wanted to use whatever grip we got for the spinners. I wouldn't say the decision was wrong, but what we did afterwards was wrong."
New Zealand were expected to be tested by Bangladesh's trio of left-arm spinners but McCullum's assault left them with combined figures of 2 for 104 in 11 overs. "Two of them were left-arm spinners," Mushfiqur said. "Shakib [Al Hasan] is more of a batting all-rounder. I don't think our left-arm spinners had too much help from the pitch. Credit should go to Brendon for the way he batted. No one really played well apart from him."
Bangladesh have three days before their must-win game against Pakistan on Tuesday, and Mushfiqur said they would learn from this loss and work on their weaknesses. "The bigger teams are doing well on the particular day and winning games, as I've seen so far in the tournament. The match-winners have been contributing. Definitely we will look at our game. Pakistan are dangerous in this format. We will have to think really hard, have a look at our strategy and give 100 per cent."