After two losses in which South Africa restricted them to totals of less than 180, Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, said his batsmen needed to perform better in the third and final ODI to give their team a chance of winning.
"The series is lost but there is still a lot at stake for us," Ashraful said. "We know that if we had managed 220-230 in the two ODIs then we would have been quite competitive."
A fiery burst from Andre Nel had reduced the hosts to 18 for 4, and it was only the record 119-run stand between Shakib Al Hasan and Raqibul Hasan that ensured Bangladesh got to 173. However, Ashraful felt the wicket of Raqibul Hasan, who top scored with 63, led to the side failing to go past the 200-mark.
"We recovered very, very well after slumping to 18 for 4. Shakib and Raqibul got us out of jail with that 119-run partnership but then Raqibul got out playing an uppish shot in the first ball of the 38th over which upset the team plan," Ashraful said. "Had he continued we would have managed something like 210-225 which would have been quite handy, maybe even a defendable total."
Ashraful shrugged off suggestions that captaincy was affecting his batting, but felt luck wasn't going his way of late. He was out for a duck in Mirpur, with an attempted hook off Nel falling into the hands of long leg. "I think I did everything right with that shot except the placement. I wanted to play it more towards square leg.
"I am feeling confident and the ball is hitting the right areas of the bat. In the first match [in Chittagong] I thought I was a touch unlucky and here I got out too early."