‘We really needed this reality check before the World Cup’
Bangladesh suffered their second loss in the Asia Cup Super-Four stage as batting failure once again led to the downfall of the Tigers in their 21-run defeat against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
Defending champions Sri Lanka rode Sadeera Samarawickrama's 72-ball knock to post a competitive 257-9 on a slow track and in reply, Bangladesh, beaten by Pakistan in their previous match also due to poor batting performance, were all out for 236 in 48.1 overs despite Towhid Hridoy's gallant 82.
Following two consecutive defeats, Bangladesh now stare at an exit from the Super Four stage of the tournament. Bangladesh will play their final Super Four match against India on September 15 and their hopes of making it to the final of the tournament now lie entirely on other results going their way coupled with favorable net run-rates.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan admitted that they have to put their deteriorating batting under the scanner ahead of the next month's World Cup, starting from October 5 in India.
"We haven't been batting well for quite some time. It is a matter of concern. We have to fix these problems. I personally feel that we really needed this reality check before the World Cup. We usually do well in bilateral series. You can see our results from 2015 to 2019 to 2023. Our big tests are in these big tournaments where we have never done anything extraordinary," said Shakib during a post-match press conference yesterday.
"We have three matches in the 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 World Cups. You won't find a lot of difference in these performances. We have usually failed after we get the reality check. We are a promising team that's doing well on and off. We lost the last two home series against England and Afghanistan. Our batting has deteriorated in the last six months. It is going downwards, so we have to rectify quickly," he continued.
Mohammad Naim played as many as 33 dot balls during his 46-ball 21 before failing to leave a slower bouncer from Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka in Colombo tonight. A staggering dot-ball percentage of 72, however, helped the Bangladesh opener improve his ODI batting average from 12.3 to 13.6.
"We haven't done a lot of experiments. Naim is playing his fourth match [in the tournament]. We had a few injuries after the first game, but Litton [Das] came [back] into the picture. Naim got starts in four games. It is not that he is getting out quickly. I think it is more about mentality than skill. If a batter can make 20, he has the ability to score an eighty or a hundred," Shakib defended Naim.
"We wanted to be consistent [with selection]. We didn't want to put someone in and throw him out after two games. He had a decent run. He played four games in a row. He got starts in all the games. The disappointing side is that he didn't deliver when he should have played a big knock. He didn't get out first or second ball too. I am not saying he made a lot of contributions - he played the new ball really well - but when we needed, he couldn't kick on."
Bangladesh skipper was also pleased with youngster Towhid Hridoy, who struck 82 and added 72 for the fifth wicket with Mushfiqur Rahim after Bangladesh were 83 for 4 in pursuit of 258.
"It is a relief. He batted really well. Playing in the LPL must have given him a lot of confidence. He has faced all these bowlers. I am very happy with the way he batted. There is still a long way to go. A big tournament is coming. I hope he continues his form."