Bangladesh must improve before the World Cup

Despite their heartbreaking loss in the Asia Cup last night, Bangladesh’s performance in the tournament was mixed. The Tigers lost their first encounter against Afghanistan despite fighting with the ball until the last stages. At the same time, their dramatic departure against Sri Lanka saw their batting effort improve significantly but the result eluded them due to death-over anxiety.

Attacking the ball and high-catching were still issues in the fielding department. Afif Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, and Taskin Ahmed put in strong fielding performances, but the team overall needed to improve in this area, despite the fact that the Tigers’ fielding effort in this tournament showed indications of development. Taskin grabbed several excellent catches under duress last night, but Mushfiqur lost a regulation catch behind the stumps, unable to remove Kusal Mendis in two attempts.

The Tigers fell short in the bowling area throughout the event. In the spin department, Mahedi Hasan, noted for his slog over talents, let away loose deliveries and overstepped, allowing Sri Lanka to escape. Nasum Ahmed did not appear in any games, while Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Mosaddek Hossain were underutilized, possibly owing to the weather. Shakib Al Hasan, the skipper, bowled brilliantly in the first game but was run out for runs by the Lankans yesterday.

Despite good performances throughout the competition, the pace department would be concerned. Afghan batsmen dictated terms against Mohammad Saifuddin, causing him to be dropped for the Sri Lanka match. Last night, Ebadot Hossain witnessed both sides of the coin in his T20I debut.

He put Bangladesh back into the game by taking three wickets for 13 runs in his first two overs. His last two overs, however, yielded 38 runs as Sri Lanka hitters picked off his length to utilize the pace of his deliveries, despite the fact that he was erratic in his debut, surrendering six wides and two no-balls.

Taskin Ahmed bowled well and was unlucky not to capture the wicket of Mendis yesterday after Mushfiqur dropped the ball. He was relied on in difficult situations and did not let the captain down by not going for runs. Mustafizur Rahman’s performances would be the most concerning. He frequently delivered batters with pitches directly in the slot, while the yorker, which suited him so well in the early years of his career, seemed to be lacking.

Because of Anamul Haque Bijoy and Mohammad Naim’s lack of intent in the first game, both opening spots had to be swapped after the first game. Mehedi and Sabbir were deployed as openers against Sri Lanka, with the former contributing an effective knock. It remains to be seen whether the Tigers can resolve their opening slot issues once Liton Das returns to play.

Mushfiqur failed to score in the middle order, but Mahmudullah Riyad was able to form partnerships in the middle overs. Both seniors had been dealing with runs in the days leading up to the series. Afif made a significant contribution to Bangladesh’s large total on the board yesterday and will be depended on in the future. Mosaddek was the most promising batsman, scoring 48 in the first game before a cameo of 9-ball 24 helped Bangladesh close the innings on a high note. The total batting effort showed intent, which was a positive.

Following a string of excellent performances, the Tigers will want to make some adjustments and alterations. It will be clear in the following days if they will rely on youth for the upcoming missions. If they are to succeed in the future, they must work as a team, and improvements in all three categories would be extremely beneficial.