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Mahmudullah says Bangladesh 'didn't click as a batting group' after loss to Zimbabwe

He reserved praise for debutant Shamim Hossain though, who made 29 in 13 balls

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Mahmudullah is standing in as captain for the injured Tamim Iqbal  •  BCB

Mahmudullah is standing in as captain for the injured Tamim Iqbal  •  BCB

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah said that his side didn't lose focus but were simply outdone by Zimbabwe's effort in the second T20I in Harare. The visitors went down by 23 runs, their first defeat in this Zimbabwe tour, to set up a series finale on Sunday at the same venue.
"I don't think we were complacent," Mahmudullah said. "We were focused for this game and wanted to do well. We probably lost the game because we couldn't execute our plans. We haven't become a bad side after this defeat. They played well. We didn't take the chances in the field. We have to avoid making these mistakes in the next game."
Bangladesh's fielding again came into focus when they dropped two chances and made a mess of a third. Mahmudullah dropped Wessley Madhevere on 44, and he eventually went on to make a career-high 73, while Soumya Sarkar dropped Ryan Burl although it didn't cost much. Shoriful Islam and Mahedi Hasan had calling mix-up, to give Regis Chakabva a life in the third over.
When chasing the 167-run target, Bangladesh recovered from two early wickets before Wellington Masakadza pounced on over-eager batters, picking up three wickets in ten balls. Shakib Al Hasan was caught in the covers before Mahmudullah and Hasan holed out in the deep.
Mahmudullah however said his method was right, that the big shot was on in such a chase. "I am not disappointed with my batting approach. We needed to take risk up front. We were under pressure after losing early wickets up front.
"We needed a 30 or 50-run partnership to lay the foundation, and that would have got us closer to the target," he said.
Hasan's dismissal however would rankle as he saw Mahmudullah and Shakib get out in a short span, and should have stuck around as the set batter. Mahmudullah said that they sent Hasan to take advantage of a right-hander in a lefty-heavy top-order.
"We wanted to maintain right-and-left hand combination at the top-order since Liton Das didn't play this game. We felt that Mahedi, who bats in the top-order in domestic cricket, should express himself in that position.
"Unfortunately, we didn't click as a batting group. There weren't any partnerships up front, particularly chasing 160-plus," he said.
There was however a blitz from young debutant Shamim Hossain who slammed two sixes and two fours in his 13-ball 29. Mahmudullah said that he would have loved to see him get Bangladesh closer to the target.
"Shamim is a wonderful talent for Bangladesh cricket. He made a good debut although we couldn't win today. He batted well but maybe he would have liked to finish the game, which would have helped the team. I gave him an over. He is a handy allrounder," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84