Bangladesh’s cricketers will get their next shot Wednesday at completing the back-to-back series wins in T20Is against Australia and New Zealand, the two sides BCB has hosted during a pretty bare home leg of the 2021 cricketing calendar, squeezed in between a successful tour of Zimbabwe and next month’s ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Wednesday’s fourth T20I at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, with the hosts ahead in the series by 2-1, will be the Tigers’ penultimate fixture before they turn up at the World Cup. Bangladesh, however, will have to go through the qualifying league preceding the tournament proper.
Series win against New Zealand will provide morale booster but the hosts must dig deep to beat the Black Caps in the last two games. Most people expected the visitors will roll over and lie dead especially after the first game, where they were dismissed for their joint lowest total in the format.
Yet the way they have applied themselves and adapted their game until striking the right formula in the third match - resulting in a big win - has been a lesson in professionalism. Going into the last two games, Tom Latham’s side will have both confidence and momentum on their side.
I think we could have been a little bit more composed in our run chase. We had a beautiful start
Bangladesh’s batting has left something to be desired through both series. They just about managed to chase a target of 122 against Australia in the second match of that series. On Sunday, they needed 128 to win the third match and the series. Liton Das and Naim were cruising at 23/0, but once Das fell playing an agricultural hoick that missed everything, it was a procession. The entire team was blown away with the addition of just another 53 runs to the scoreboard.
“I think we could have been a little bit more composed in our run chase. We had a beautiful start. The openers Naim and Liton hit about five boundaries, getting us to 20-odd in two overs. We were ahead of the run-rate at that stage,” Ashwell Prince, Bangladesh’s batting coach, told newspersons Tuesday after a training session at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
“But we lost too many wickets too quickly in the next 3-4 overs. Possibly we were being too aggressive early on. I don’t think the pitch changed much. I think 129 was a competitive target, which we would have reached if we were a little bit calmer in the run chase,” he added.
In two of the first three matches, Bangladesh opener Mohammad Naim had a good start, but on every occasion, he failed to cash in. In the first match, he scored only one, while in the second, he hit 39 but played as many balls. He scored 13 in the third match.
Bangladesh might give a second thought before selecting him in the fourth game. Soumya Sarkar, the left-handed opener, might get a chance in Wednesday’s game.
Bangladesh batting coach believes if the team can read the wicket better they can come up with better performance as well.
“I think we have a good combination, but it is important to read the pitches on the day and adapting your game according to the surface,” he said.
Batsmen like Nurul Hasan and Afif Hossain have the ability to turn the game at any moment, but they are yet to do well in the ongoing series.
“There were good run chases against Zimbabwe and Australia. Particularly, Afif and Sohan did well against Australia. You need to have a combination of batsmen in the team. You have guys who can rotate the strike, can hit boundaries, and then you have a group of guys at the end of the innings, who can chase 9-10 runs an over when necessary and pitches are conducive,” Prince further told the media.
Right before the New Zealand series, Bangladesh played against Australia and won the five-match series 4-1, which was Bangladesh’s maiden series win against the Aussies in any format of international cricket.
With the series win against Australia and a lead of 2-1 against New Zealand, Bangladesh are currently placed at number six in the ICC T20 Ranking.
In the last two matches, New Zealand made five changes to their playing XI. They might make a few more changes in the fourth match. Despite securing a win in the previous game, Colin de Grandhomme failed to do well. The Black Caps might overlook him in the next match.