Kamran Reza Chowdhury; The cricket loving Bangladeshis were totally shocked and disappointed by the way their heartthrob team played against England in the first match in Dhaka and the series decider one-day international in Chittagong. After the ‘unprofessional’ defeat in the first match, with five-catch misses and callous batting after Shakib’s dismissal, the Tigers fought back in style and squared the series 1-1.
Most of the cricket lovers firmly believed that Bangladesh would win the series—beating England, apparently outraged and shocked at the ‘unexpected’ loss in the second game, in the lucky ground in Chittagong. Defeat in the second game was ‘unexpected’ as the English captain restricted the Tigers to ‘attainable’ 238 runs—less than five runs per over.
Anyone watching the three matches carefully, with minimum cricketing sense, can chart out the reasons that led to the loss of Bangladesh side’s series loss. Skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza attributed the loss in the final match to dew that made bowling second difficult.
He was correct, but the Tigers could win all three matches, in my opinion, if all of his boys were little bit more careful.
In the final match, Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal gave a good start—no early wicket fall. Kayes, who hammered in the first match, was 46 when he played a lofted drive and walked to the pavilion as the fielder did not have a butter finger.
He should not have played the lofted drive at that stage of the game when they were building the foundation of big score. Kayes seemed very unprofessional in the first match when he came down the track to hit a boundary at a time when all recognized batsmen were out and it was only he who could snatch the victory from England, provided he showed a little bit more patience. Kayes played the shot that should have been the last ball of the match. He can take lesson from the English tail-ender Adil Rashid and Jake Ball who in the last partnership almost snatched victory from the Tigers. They blocked balls after balls. When they settled, they continued aggressive batting like full-fledged batsmen. Before the partnership came to an end, the Rashid-Ball partnership scored around nine runs per over in the final 33 balls. In the third match, Kayes could have contributed more runs even if he waited a little longer to score a half-century. His imprudent shot spoiled the strong foundation the opening pair made. Kayes simply threw wickets at least in the first and the third game. It was same Kayes who dropped a catch of Ben Stokes at the stage when England was feeling pressure of chasing. Dismissal of Stokes could even bring the series for Bangladesh.
In cricket, there is saying ‘catch miss means match miss’—though England dropped Mushfiqur Rahim at the fag-end of Bangladesh batting.
In Chittagong, Tamim, who joined the 5,000 runs club, was also apparently half-hearted and the end result was his dismissal. He was about to score a half century. If Tamim could maintain patience enough to score at least a 50, he could have added more for him and the team. He also threw wicket.
Nasir, who made a significant contribution in the second match with bat and ball, was callous enough—playing a full-toss delivery of Adil Rashid who provoked him to play a lofted drive. He was out scoring four runs. His longer stay with Musfique could make a difference. Nasir, though he fetched the breakthrough by dismissing an opener, was lackluster in bowling.
To me, Bangladesh could have scored 300 plus in the final match in case three of our batsmen—Kayes, Tamim and Nasir— refrained from throwing wickets. In that case, the result would have been different. Our players must not think that they had accomplished their duties and the rest of the teammate would carry the innings forward. The Tigers should play like Michael Bevan of Australia. He was the man who in many cases snatched victory for the Aussies from ruins.
At the fielding side, the England players were very agile and accurate in throwing. All of their throws were close to the stumps while our players did the reverse; most of their throws were wide in nature. Accurate throws restrict the batsmen to take more runs and brighten the chance of run out.
You cannot put pressure on the batsmen by throwing wide. The English were very good in running between wickets—taking and ones and twos. We have to remember that a team can score 300 runs with ones, twos and threes in a 50-over match.
For example, the Indian team in 2011 world cup match against Bangladesh made a huge score and beat the Tigers comprehensively mainly playing grounded boundaries. The Indian team was very careful while playing the lofted drives in the match in Dhaka taking lesson from their 2007 world cup exit losing to the Tigers. Lofted drives cost their defeat.
The trend of our batsmen to go for frequent big lofted shots should be avoided. They should play the safest grounded shots to score boundaries.
Our hard-working players should not learn the indecent behaviours shown by the English captain Jos Butler and Ben Stokes in the second match after they were set to concede a defeat.
But the Tigers should learn some lessons from them—no wicket throwing, more running between wickets, reducing dot balls, going for grounded shots, improving the throws, and most import—no dropping of catches. This is because the players will have to make a half-catch chance into full; they should not waste a full chance.
Hopefully, our team will assess the causes of their failures in the series against England and correct them in the upcoming matches. People would not mind in case our team loses with a professional approach. Our players are our treasures; they have brought good name for Bangladesh. These cricketers have connected all Bangladeshis at home and abroad. One good shot or a wicket makes million euphoric and one single mistake bleeds millions.
Go ahead Tigers. Best of luck.