Such experience should make Bangladesh’s batting collapses very rare if not immune from such occurrences. But that has not been the case for the Tigers.

On Sunday, Bangladesh lost its top five batters for just 34 runs. Granted, the South African attack had the advantage of bowling on a pitch with uneven bounce. But the experienced Bangladesh top-order failed to adapt to the challenge and virtually handed South Africa the match in the first 13 overs.

Bangladesh always had the tendency of losing early wickets in ODIs. Just last year, Bangladesh found themselves three wickets down with less than 50 runs on the board four times

Bangladesh’s top-five batters –- Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Yasir Ali -– had a total of 728 ODIs to their names when they took the field on Sunday. In comparison, their opponents’ top-five names in the team sheet had played a combined 202 ODIs.

Out of those 728 ODIs, Yasir Ali had played only three.

Skipper Tamim and other specialists pointed out how the pitch at Wanderers was behaving erratically early on and the Bangladeshi batters don’t deserve all the blame.

But Bangladesh had found themselves in a very similar situation just last month. That match didn’t take place in a foreign land. It took place at Bangladesh’s home of cricket, Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. Also, it wasn’t against an established international side like South Africa but against Afghanistan, a team that is still finding its feet at the highest level.

The same five names occupied the top five spots in Bangladesh’s batting line-up. On that occasion, chasing 216, Bangladesh were reduced to 28-5.

Bangladesh ended up winning the match owing to a record breaking 174-run seventh wicket stand between Afif Hossain and Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Against South Africa, the same two players got together and helped Bangladesh avoid getting folded for a mediocre total, but couldn’t ensure a win.

With the poor batting performance on Sunday, Bangladesh rolled back the clock to 2003, when Bangladesh were the whipping boys of international cricket as the last time the Tigers lost five wickets under 35 runs was in 2003.

Bangladesh always had the tendency of losing early wickets in ODIs. Just last year, Bangladesh found themselves three wickets down with less than 50 runs on the board four times.

But the experienced middle-order usually repaired the innings. But this year, the onus to rebuild the innings has twice fallen on the shoulders of the number seven and eight batters -- Afif and Miraz.

The duo pulled off a miracle in Mirpur against Afghanistan. But the match against South Africa proved that against more experienced opponents, losing five wickets for virtually nothing is the equivalent of gifting them the match.

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