Mohammad Mithun led the fight with bat to help Bangladesh earn respectability, but the bowlers failed to back Mithun’s brilliant knock…….
“It was tough. We were struggling with the bat, lost too many wickets at the start. They bowled well but we lost too many. There are no excuses. We need a week to adjust to the conditions, but I don’t want to make any excuses. We will give our best in the next game. I think batting is a concern, but at the same time the bowling also needs some work. We did not bowl badly today but 232 is hard to defend”
That’s what Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain uttered after the end of first one-day international (ODI) match at McLean Park, Napier. He emphasized on the importance of an improved batting, but he forgot one more important thing to emphasize and which was the toothless bowling of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s story in New Zealand, be it in an ODI or Test, has never been chummy. Since Bangladesh and New Zealand started to tour each other way back in 2001-02 seasons, it had been the Kiwis who had the last laugh at their own backyard. Until that tour in 2017, Bangladesh hardly had any sweet memories to relish in New Zealand. And for which, a tour to New Zealand has always remained one of the least expected ones for Bangladesh fans.
But in 2017, Bangladesh showed the character to fight despite losing the Test and ODI series and Bangladesh’s recent improvement in both formats of game has instilled a positive expectation in the hearts of Bangladesh critics and fans. Especially in limited-overs format, Bangladesh have a very balanced unit, who can deliver the best even under trying circumstances.
On this tour, they may not have the services of the best all-rounder in the world in ODIs, but obviously, in recent past Bangladesh have proved, even without the presence of the dynamic Shakib Al Hasan; they can survive the scare of best oppositions in world cricket. And thus, the Shakib-factor may not have loomed large in the minds of Bangla boys when they faced the Kiwis on a sun-kissed day at Napier.
But like the past, Bangladesh made a shaky start after deciding to bat first.
The ball swung. The ball came to the batsmen at pace and the ball bounced.
Bangladesh’s top-order melted in no time as six wickets fell for 94 runs.
The successes in the last couple of years have helped to develop a fighting spirit within the boys and the boys understand how to read the situation and play accordingly when they come under pressure. The perfect example is Mohammad Mithun, who stepped up yet again under pressure to stabilize the tattered innings of Bangladesh. He motored the innings beautifully with Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mohammad Saifuddin to drag Bangladesh out of the mud.
The total of Bangladesh was competitive in my opinion, but to back that total, they did not bowl the way they should have – the bowling of Bangladesh lacked the cutting edge.
I failed to understand why Saifuddin was preferred over Mustafizur Rahman to share the new ball. Mustafiz is a complete package both with the old and new ball. He can be a handy customer when the matter is about giving breakthroughs with the new ball. But astonishingly, Saifuddin was preferred.
Saifuddin might be regarded as an all-rounder in Bangladesh, but in comparison to batting, his bowling is too mediocre. You can’t expect a slow medium-pacer to rise and shine in New Zealand. His match figures of 43 runs from 7 overs at an economy rate of 6.14 indicate how he released the pressure from another end when Mashrafe was trying to create the same with tighter lines.
With due respect to Saifuddin’s abilities, someone like Rubel Hossain could have given Bangladesh the much needed value at Napier. Rubel is such a skiddy customer, who has added a lot of dynamism in Bangladesh bowling attack on many occasions. Most importantly, Rubel’s pace and Yorkers can never be ignored.
Miraz, Mahmudullah Riyad and Sabbir Rahman tried to fill the gap of Shakib, but leaked five runs an over.
New Zealand coasted home safely without any pressure.
Again, in my opinion, the Bangladesh bowling attack was found to be hungover by Bangladesh Premier League.
How can you dismiss the batsmen with a Twenty20 line-and-length?
The length of Bangladesh bowlers was much more on the half-volley and shorter side, while the line erred consistently. It’s hard to expect breakthroughs if the line-and-length consistently remains undisciplined and bowling lacks variety in flight.
Overall, the Bangladesh bowling needs a huge improvement alongside batting and it would be better if Bangladesh seek for the right combination ahead of second ODI.