Ahead of the start of this edition of Asia Cup T20, hosts Bangladesh was regarded as the ‘second favourites’ for this tournament. They fielded a strong unit and had form on their side as well. However after watching the ‘Tigers’ in their first two league games against India and United Arab Emirates (UAE), one has to say that the Mashrafe Mortaza-led team has been below par in this event. It is their batting, which let them down big time.
The wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla, so far have been quite helpful for the pace bowlers. Thanks to the pace, bounce and carry at the pitches of this venue, proper application is required from the batsmen to survive here and the Bangladesh batting failed to show that resistance on both occasions. At times they tried to be too flamboyant and paid the price for it. The home team so far has failed to reach even the 140-run mark in this tournament, which is very concerning for their admirers.
Bangladesh has clearly missed the services of the experienced opener Tamim Iqbal, who opted out from this event because of the birth of his first child. His replacement Imrul Kayes, who was the second highest, run scorer in the last edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), played just one game and failed to deliver the goods.
The main problem with this batting line-up is – they try to play too many shorts early in their innings. The likes of Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Kayes and Sabbir Rahman, who have batted in the top three for Bangladesh in this competition – all have been guilty of not respecting the conditions, which demands some patience, especially against the new ball.
Besides this, Bangladesh has to review the decision of opting for Sabbir at No.3. Though he scored a valiant 44 against India, on these ‘green-tops’ clearly this attacking right-hander is not the right choice for this important position in the batting order. They need someone with a more compact technique like Mushfiqur Rahim or Mahmudullah Sabbir who can be used as a finisher, in which he is good at.
Both Rahim and Mahmudullah are not like those typical T20 cricketers, who possess fierce hitting abilities. Both of them initially take a few deliveries to settle down and in this Bangladesh T20 batting line-up, they are ideal for No.3 and 4. They have the technique to survive on these conditions.
However, at present they are being wasted down the order. Coach Chandika Hathurusingha definitely needs to change this strategy of his if Bangladesh wants positive results from this Asia Cup and the upcoming Word T20, in which they will be playing the qualifying matches on similar sort of wickets at Dharamsala.
Apart from this the poor form Shakib Al Hasan, their best batsman in this format has also contributed to Bangladesh’s poor batting performance. He is an important member of this side and his form will be crucial for Bangladesh’s chances in World T20. Shakib should look to spend some more time at the crease in the remaining part of this ongoing event.
Of late Bangladesh’s dream run in limited-overs’ cricket at home has raised the expectation from this side. With some exciting pacers on their ranks, Bangladesh bowling has come up well in recent times. Now, they need sort out these woes in the batting department quickly to be a force to reckon with in the upcoming Word T20.
(Sandipan Banerjee is a Senior Correspondent at Cricwizz.com)