Mahmudullah calls Liton Das dismissal 'turning point', takes blame for defeat
Captain says Bangladesh "will try to win last two matches" as semi-final hopes fade
Andre Russell held sway over Mahmudullah in a game of fine margins in Sharjah. His full-length delivery, pitched just outside off stump and speeding through to wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran, effectively ended Bangladesh's T20 World Cup campaign.
Mahmudullah said that he had hoped Russell would miss his yorker by an inch. Bangladesh's captain had already camped deep in the crease, but his attempted squeeze through point never materialised.
It was a reputable tussle in the final over. While Russell is T20 royalty with both bat and ball, Mahmudullah built his reputation as Bangladesh's designated hitter in the death overs and the man in charge of most T20 chases in the last five years, but during this campaign, he has now failed to get Bangladesh over the line twice in tricky chases.
"I knew that Russell would bowl the last ball in the blockhole," Mahmudullah said. "He had four fielders on the leg-side. He bowled two good yorkers off the fourth and fifth deliveries, so I thought that if he misses his length in the last ball, I can make a bit of room to hit him over mid-off or squeeze it through cover or backward point. I couldn't execute the last ball, it is my fault."
Mahmudullah pointed to Liton Das' dismissal from the last ball of the 19th over as the "turning point" as he believed if that hit towards long-on had gone for a six, Bangladesh would have had the advantage going into the final over. Instead, Jason Holder intercepted the shot at long-on, ending Liton's best T20I innings of the year.
"The partnership with Liton was going well, but had his shot off [Dwayne] Bravo's last ball gone for six instead, it would have put us in a better position," Mahmudullah said. "It was a big turning point, since Liton was set. I think two set batsmen in the last over could have given us a six or a four."
Mahmudullah rued giving away too many runs to the West Indies in the latter overs, mainly due to three dropped catches and one missed stumping. Mahedi Hasan dropped Roston Chase twice but it was Afif Hossain missing Holder on 1 that proved pivotal, the batter going on to hit two sixes in the final over. Liton spurned a chance to stump Pooran on 2, the batter going on to hit a crucial 40 off 22 balls.
"It was a difficult wicket. We noticed when we bowled that when the ball was delivered back of a length, there was low bounce and the ball wasn't coming on to the bat.
"We bowled well, but we missed a few chances. We could have taken ten runs off their total, making it a relatively easier chase."
Bangladesh have a mathematical chance to make to the semi-finals if they win both games against South Africa and Australia, England win all their games and other results also go their way. Mahmudullah said that he wanted his side to keep improving, and aspire to win the last two matches.
"We tried but T20s have close margins," he said. "We couldn't win the game today. We still have a lot to gain [from this tournament] although our hopes of making it to the semi-finals are slim. We will try to win the last two matches. We are fully committed in the field, but we are making some mistakes."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84