The ODI series defeat to Afghanistan certainly sent a shockwave to Bangladesh cricket given that the format is their favorite one and since 2015, they didn’t lose any series at home barring at the hands of world champions England.
Afghanistan though always a strong side in limited-over cricket, they even were no match for Bangladesh in this format. Before this series, the win-loss ratio was absolutely in Bangladesh’s favor, as they won seven and lost four.
Afghanistan now closed the gap, winning the first two matches of the series but that mattered little for Bangladesh team management. What matters most is that the defeat exposed several holes, which urgently should be plugged but Bangladesh has just three months at hand before the World Cup. In between they would also play Asia Cup.
While it was believed the time is very short to fix all those problems, Bangladesh allrounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz believed they are able to rectify those.
“The lacking that we had in these two matches and the mistakes we made will allow us to become more alert since we have big series ahead of us,” Miraz said, adding: “We have Asia Cup and World Cup games against them and I hope we would be able to overcome our errors.”
Bangladesh lost the first game by 17 runs on DLS and the second one by 142 runs, which was their biggest-ever defeat by runs against Afghanistan. On both occasions, Bangladesh’s batting looked shaky and out-of-sort.
Apart from Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan, no one seemed to have any answer against the guile of Afghan spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Especially it appeared Rashid’s googly was hard to fathom.
Najmul Hossain Shanto and Liton Das, who of late have been in their form of life got a reality check that how tough it is to deal with a quality bowler in International cricket.
Most of the runs of Liton and Shanto came in helpful pitch but it’s not that the pitch of the second ODI was unhelpful. Afghanistan put up 331-9 in this pitch but what made the difference was Rashid Khan who took the pitch out of the equation. And Bangladesh cricketers apart from Shakib and Mushfiqur lacked courage against the legspinner.
Although Shakib could score only 25, he showed how to deal with Rashid while Mushfiqur battled lonely to score 69 before the last batter out. As the defeat is like a blessing in disguise, Miraz said every player now can plan individually to how they would handle a particular bowler.
“One thing that was good is that we have an opportunity now. Losing this series meant we can work on where we lacked and where we need to improve. Since we have World Cup and Asia Cup games against them, we can plan our batters’ gameplan, which bowlers we can target, or how we can stop their batters. Since we have three months before World Cup and one-and-a-half months before Asia Cup, every cricketer can plan individually. Since we have time, it would be good,”
Miraz reckoned that Bangladesh didn’t become a bad ODI side overnight because of this series’ defeat.
“I had told at a press conference before that if we played this series badly, it wouldn’t mean we have become a bad side. Our record is very good and we qualified for the World Cup. Our team combinations are good and the players are in good touch. Overall we are confident,” he said.
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