Monday, February 18, 2019 11:22:19 PM
Bangladesh's embarrassing washout in the New Zealand ODI series has left an unmistakable question mark over the poor performance from the team's leading figures.
The Tigers were handed an eight-wicket thrashing by New Zealand at Nelson's Saxton Oval in the third match on Saturday. The hosts completed a 3-0 clean sweep of the series.
A century stand between openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes could not save Bangladesh as yet another dramatic collapse left Bangladesh reeling after electing to bat.
There was a long break in the post-match press briefing after the Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson left as his Bangladesh counterpart Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was nowhere to be seen.
Word arrived to the reporters that Bangladesh Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and his disciples sat in a meeting shortly after the game.
The players spoke their minds in the meeting as their performance came under scrutiny. One problem stood out from the others -- the trifling show from the senior cricketers.
Fingers can also be pointed at the method of team selection but this issue is actually a minor one as the scoresheets show that the team was ultimately let down by the more established players - particularly the batsmen.
Tamim opened his innings strongly in each of his three innings but perished playing rash shots in all of them.
His score of 38 in the first match promised more. Tamim also looked good for a century on Saturday, but his dismissal on 59 reflected impatience and poor temperament as Bangladesh swirled down towards the whitewash.
Imrul's resolve appeared similar to his partner's through the series. His scores read 16, 59 and 44, respectively. He survived several close calls during his half-century in the second match.
Despite being a set batsman he swung hard at a wider length ball without any feet movement and paid the price. Repeatedly wasting such starts as a top order batsman is appalling.
His shocking explanation behind the dismissal was, "I became nervous after the wicket of Mosaddek [Hossain]."
Young Mosaddek is an allrounder at the outset of his international career.
Mahmudullah's contribution through the series was statistically insignificant. He returned scores of 0, 1 and 3, completing the worst series in his ODI career.
Batting at five, Shakib Al Hasan began with a fluent 59 in Christchurch but the team needed more from the ace allrounder.
He fell cheaply to Williamson for 7 in the second ODI. On Saturday, he untimely ran himself out for 18 and why he did not dive to reach for the danger end remains a mystery.
In the absence of middle-order lynchpin Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh desperately needed someone to anchor the innings in the mid overs but nobody proved to be capable enough.
Sabbir Rahman may not be a senior per se, but he has played more than 30 ODIs. His powerful strokeplay is an asset for the team but prematurely getting out for 16, 38 and 19 leave much to be desired from a talented youngster of his stature.
The formula of their collapses in the second and third match appeared pretty basic.
They struggled to pick out the gaps after the first powerplay, relying mostly on miss or hit slogs rather than rotating the strikes. Inevitably dot balls ramped up pressure on the trigger-happy batsmen and induced their downfall.
Bangladesh lost 9 wickets for 79 runs in the second ODI and 7 wickets for 77 in the last.
"What happened was some individual performances. Shakib played well in the first match, Tamim got runs today, Imrul did in the last match and today too," Mashrafe said after the series rout.
"But there was no performance that could benefit the team or hurt our opponents; something that we had been doing in home conditions."
"Obviously I personally hope for something bigger. When Tamim and Imrul were batting today or Sabbir and Imrul were yesterday, the team was in a good position.
"A collapse from that point is frustrating indeed. We needed a more unified effort, especially after losing Mushfiqur," he added.
The skipper concluded that isolated performances never being strung together and no one coming up with something substantial individually was behind their three straight defeats for Bangladesh.
Mashrafe and his men have produced momentous victories over the years, allowing fans to forge dreams of unprecedented success.
But if Tamim is to be one of world's best batsmen, Shakib the top allrounder in essence, Mahmudullah and Imrul among those renowned around the globe, then they must achieve spectacular feats on foreign soils.
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