For only the fourth time in T20I cricket, Bangladesh brought up 100 runs in the first 10 overs. Then they went on to make their highest total in the format, with two of their top-order batsmen stringing important partnerships together as they made their personal best scores. But all of that was upended within an hour of ordinary bowling: they conceded 13 fours in the first six overs. And that set the tone, as Sri Lanka won with 20 balls to spare.
Bangladesh missed Shakib Al Hasan but they would have hoped the other seniors Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain could make up for their captain’s absence. But apart from debutant Nazmul Islam, none of the bowlers conceded anything less than 10.66 runs per over.
“As a bowling group, we have to find out how and where to bowl in certain times,” Mahmudullah, the stand-in captain, said. “We have to create pressure with dot balls. You have to bowl all out in these wickets – either bowl yorkers or proper bouncers – according to the strength of the batsmen.
“We could have made a little more [runs] but I still felt 193 was a good score. But our bowlers didn’t bowl in the right lengths. The line was still fine. We also didn’t take early wickets which is always important.”
Mohammad Saifuddin had perhaps the toughest day, conceding 19 and 14 in his two overs. This was his third poor outing with the ball in the last four months, having been hammered by David Miller and Darren Sammy recently. Mahmudullah defended the 21-year old allrounder, saying that it was a collective failure from the bowling unit.
“I think he had a bad game but he couldn’t execute his plans. He didn’t bowl in the lengths for which I set his fields. I think he will work on it. Length was important on this good batting wicket. A bit of room is dangerous here, especially in the Powerplay overs. [His bowling] isn’t looking bad. He will learn with experience. I believe Saifuddin will one day win matches for Bangladesh. But he has to learn quickly. We win and lose as a team, so no point in blaming Saifuddin. Our whole bowling unit failed, except Nazmul Islam who bowled well for his debut game.”
The skill that Bangladesh lacked on Thursday was one Sri Lanka used well, and Mahmudullah highlighted that as a point of difference between both teams. “You can say we are behind Sri Lanka in terms of results. They bowled the yorkers very well towards the end. We had to work hard to find runs. Mushfiqur struck his reverse sweeps very well, especially against the full balls. Our bowlers couldn’t quite bowl that length. We should have defended 193.”