Bangladesh T20I captain Mahmudullah Riyad was left singing the same old tune of a top order batting failure, a running feature of the seemingly endless run of disappointing results that the team is on, after their second defeat in two days against Pakistan in Mirpur, handing the 3-match series to the tourists.
On Saturday, Bangladesh endured defeat by eight wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. And after the match, Mahmudullah said it was their batting that failed them once again. It was Bangladesh’s seventh consecutive T20I defeat, going back to the start of the Super-12s phase in the recently concluded T20 World Cup.
In these seven matches, Bangladesh with the bat managed totals of: 171/4, 124/9, 139/5, 84, 73, 127/7 and 108/7.
“I think we started off quite well today. Afif (Hossain) and (Najmul Hossain) Shanto batted really well in the middle. I and Shanto were trying to get a partnership but we couldn't capitalise on the end overs,” Mahmudullah said after the match.
“For a team like us, we need a set batter to be there at the end, but it didn't happen today.”
Like most days, these days, he could have said. With the 84 against South Africa in the World Cup, Bangladesh became the first ICC full-member side to be bowled out for under 100 thrice in a calendar year. In the next game against Australia, they extended this dubious record with a fourth sub-100 total in 2021.
Riyad was left flummoxed by a question regarding the team’s catching ability, after the team dropped two more easy catches today, continuing another trend from the World Cup of missing regulation catches.
“Boys are putting a lot of effort into the catching during practice but unfortunately, we're missing out on chances (during the game),” he said, very keen to put across that the team is catching everything in practice sessions, without all the pressure of an international fixture.
In the end, clutching at straws for positives, the hapless skipper was left only with a defensive bowling performance on the day that supposedly prevented Pakistan from blowing their small target away. But truth be told, they never needed to.
“The bowling unit has been outstanding over the last six months, whether it is the pace or spin. It's the batting unit that has to come up with the goods,” he added.
‘Outstanding’ might be stretching it a bit. But if it can shame his batsmen into getting some runs on the board that bowlers can play with, its use may just be pardoned.
The third and final T20I of the series will take place on November 22 at the same venue. After the T20I series, the teams will compete in a two-match Test series.