Bangladesh 257/9 (Soumya Sarkar 61. Musfiqur Rahim 55, Mahmudullah Riad 51, Mosaddeq Hossain 41, Bennett 3/31, Sodhi2/40, Neesham 2/68) lost to New Zealand 258/6 in 47.3 Overs (Latham 54, Neesham 52, Broom 48, Mustafiz 2/33, Rubel 2/53) by 4 wickets.
Full strength Bangladesh losing to an understrength New Zealand team comprising of many fringe players by 4 wickets at Dublin yesterday proved that still lot is need to be done to prove competitiveness of Bangladesh consistently against higher ranked teams in different conditions.
After being put into bat first under heavy cloud conditions and seaming wicket Bangladesh managed to score 257/9 in allotted 50 overs.
The condition changed a bit while New Zealand replied as wicket got eased a lot. Bangladeshi bowlers bowled well in patches with Mustafiz teasing Kiwis with his variations and cutters and Rubel bowling fast and furious.
But two major weapons Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza failed to fire, Kiwis eased to their second successive victory in the Tri nation series confirming more or less their grab to the trophy.
Bangladesh’s bid of elevating its ICC ranking overtaking Sri Lanka seems all but over for now at least. Kiwis reached 258/6 with 15 balls to spare.
Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal tried as much as they could on seamer friendly wicket where even the depleted Kiwi attack was very difficult to negotiate. Bangladeshi openers curbed their usual flamboyance put on 71 in the first wicket partnership before Tamim fell.
We always mentioned that Shabbir does not have techniques batting higher up against quality attack on difficult wickets. Mahmudullah and even young Mosaddeq are far better choice. It was proved beyond doubt yesterday as well.
Only difference is that this time he was foxed by spinner Santner scoring only 1 in 4 balls. Bangladesh lost initiative of a good solid start.
Dependable Mushfique joined Soumya and the partnership kept the rescue act going till Soumya, after playing a reasonably good innings of 61 failed again carrying on to a substantially big score.
Shakib was expected to play with greater responsibility in such condition but again he failed to deliver. In the meantime, Musfique kept his acts going. Two dependable middle order batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad and later another budding youngster Mosaddeq Hossain gave some respectability of innings.
Mushfique 55(66) and Mahmudullah 51(56) once again taught bitter lessons to Bangladesh think tank that there is no alternative to quality and experience.
Bangladesh has not found ideal replacement for the duo. Other than these two, only Mosaddeq with a run a ball 41 could utilize the last few overs.
The absence of a genuine finisher like Nasir Hossain was felt again leading to suggest promoting Mahmudullah batting at three. Nasir can be given opportunity in the next match as Bangladesh possibly cannot win the trophy from here.
Bangladesh score of 257/9 appeared at least 25 runs short for truly challenging Kiwis. None of the new ball bowlers would retain their position in the ensuing Champions trophy for New Zealand.
Yet Bennett and Rance took examination of Bangladesh batting. Bangladeshi batsmen even struggled against Santner and Sodhi. A team looking to prove competitiveness in Champions trophy failed to evidence that their batsmen were having good grooming in different conditions.
By the time Kiwis started their difference much of the pace and movement of the wicket was gone. Latham and Ronchi launched counter punch. Mashrafe and Shakib had terrible first spell.
However, the pleasant sign of Bangladesh was that ace bowler Mustafizur Rahman started bowling with uncanny brilliance again. He fooled Ronchi with a cleverly disguised cutter before he could grow monster.
Mashrafe should have relied a bit more on his other spinning resources other than continuing off color Shakib. He himself looked rusty and predictable. Two premier bowlers Shakib and Mashrafe, in 16.3 overs gave away 108 runs for 1 wicket.
In a relatively below par score defence this was a turning point. Only Mustafiz with his cutters and variations and Rubel with pace looked threatening.
But Kiwis had quality batting and excellence in executing. They did not panic. Latham (54) did the spade work while Nisham (52) and Broom (48) weathered the mini storm that Fizz created.
Kiwis hopped across the target losing 6 wickets and leaving 15 balls in the match. Bangladesh cannot earn the points from the remaining two matches to take them ahead of Sri Lanka . Rather they may go below Pakistan if they lose both.
Honestly speaking we do not observe a plan B or C in Bangladesh match planning. Why the so called head coach does not understand that less equipped blaster type of batsman Sabbir cannot cope with the difficult responsibility of batting at three against quality attack on a lively wicket.
His type better suits down the order. Either Mahmudullah or Mosaddeq are far better batsmen in that spot.
Moreover, Nasir needs an opportunity at least in his favorite spot as finisher.
Will Bangladesh have courage resting Shakib for a match? It is time he gets a shock to let him spark again. Bangladesh think tank must realise that consistency in performance require lot of brain storming by quality cricket thinkers.
Oppositions have worked out key strength of Bangladesh. But Bangladesh appears typical pattern cannot make required adjustments with changing conditions. Here is what Haturasingha lacks.