Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said that the side employed an eight-batsmen strategy in the first ODI against South Africa to bolster the sagging confidence of the line-up. He said the decision was taken despite the fact that five-bowler plan was working in the last nine months.
The home side were bowled out for 160 with 3.3 overs to spare in match that was reduced to 40-overs-a-side after rain delays. The score suggests the long batting line-up didn't work and the bowling attack was left weakened with only four specialist bowlers.
"During the World Cup the batsmen were in form," Mashrafe said. "Back then the bowlers weren't doing well so we gave them the space to have five bowlers. Now the batsmen aren't in form, so we wanted them to play with some freedom. Batsmen become comfortable when they think that they are in form.
"But when the batsmen are not scoring, we have to support them. Also, we had Mahmudullah to attack their left-handed batsmen, so it was not as if we didn't have spin-bowling options. We had seven bowlers."
Mashrafe said that Kagiso Rabada's early hat-trick had much to do with the eight-wicket loss, but there were no demons in the pitch, something Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain proved during their innings of 48 and 31 respectively.
"Obviously the hat-trick was a reason. He [Kagiso Rabada] should be given credit," Mashrafe said. "Definitely you are on the back foot after those three wickets. The wicket though was really good, Shakib and Nasir proved that.
"We had started a partnership. Had Mushy [Mushfiqur] and Shakib extended it a bit more, and if we could have scored 200-220, I believe it could have been a different ball game."
Despite the hat-trick in the fourth over, Soumya Sarkar and later Shakib, Mushfiqur and Nasir batted at a higher tempo than the situation of the match suggested. Most of these batsmen, barring Nasir who was the last wicket to fall in the 37th over, were dismissed soon after they looked settled. Mashrafe said this was an issue the team had to work out soon.
"Some batsmen who are getting set are getting out. It's very difficult to explain this," he said. "The particular batsman can explain it better. But we have to work this out and come out of this scenario.
"I hope that those who are starting and getting runs should finish their job. We need to turn around from this. Maybe we can't change much after one day's practice, so we have to change our mentality."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84