• Saturday, Dec 07, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:35 pm

Mushfiq heroics fail to overshadow batting concern

  • Published at 09:05 pm July 28th, 2019
Mushfiq
Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim attempts a ramp shot during their second ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo Sunday AFP

Coming into the island nation, the Bangladesh batting has been left exposed in the first two matches, particularly the top-order

Bangladesh went to Sri Lanka for the three-match ODI series with a confident batting line-up. 

The side were driven with confidence from the performance in the World Cup 2019 in England and Wales. 

The Tigers in the 10-nation tournament smashed records with the willow, which include chasing down the highest total in the event’s history – 322 against the West Indies.

However, coming into the island nation the Bangladesh batting has been left exposed in the first two matches, particularly the top-order. 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim came to the rescue in both the games, scoring 67 in the first and remaining unbeaten on 98 to aid Bangladesh put a defendable 238 in the second ODI Sunday. 

But it cannot overshadow the concern that exists in the Bangladesh dressing room.

Mushfiq on the day went to bat with Bangladesh reeling on 31 for two in 8.1 overs, and took charge to revive the innings.

The right-handed batsman shared five 20-plus partnerships. 

It was with Mehedi Hasan Miraz however, that the “pocket rocket” had made the most contribution for the team, adding 84 for the seventh wicket. 

Miraz departed scoring 43 but Mushfiq continued strong to go on the verge of his eighth ODI hundred. 

However, fate denied the Bangladesh batsman as he fell two runs short of the milestone with the 50 overs getting completed.

Mushfiq was on 80 with two overs left in the innings. 

With tail-enders as partners, Mushfiq in the 49th over ensured to keep most of the strike, and hit two consecutive boundaries in the third and fourth ball of the over.

While in the fifth, he slammed a maximum to take his score to 95. 

With five runs needed for glory from the last over, Mushfiq in the first ball was dropped by Sri Lanka wicket-keeper Kusal Perera and had gone for a single. 

With Taijul Islam on strike in the next delivery, Mushfiq went for a desperate run from the non-striker’s end, only to find Taijul short of the crease. 

Of the remaining four deliveries, Mushfiq faced two but could only get two singles from each.

The three previous occasions Mushfiq fell agonizingly short of the three-figure landmark was when he made 98 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2009, 90 against New Zealand in Dhaka in 2013 and 99 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last year.

The openers in the shape of Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar had struggled throughout the World Cup but then they had a Shakib al Hasan in blistering form to revive the innings.

In Colombo, the openers’ struggle continued but with Shakib on leave, the job at No 3 was given to Mohammad Mithun. 

The right-handed batsman had built some expectation with a 91-run innings in the practice game, but not when it mattered.

Despite having top-order batting experience, Mithun could score only 10 and 12 runs in the first and second game respectively.    

However, the concern has been bigger with Tamim, Soumya and Mahmudullah.

Tamim, the stand-in captain for the series, in the two matches has scored only 19 and got bowled out on each occasion. 

He has been dismissed in this fashion in his last six innings. 

With Tamim, the discussion has been simply for not being able to deliver to his standard. 

In the last 10 ODIs, Tamim has scored 254 runs with 62 against Australia in the World Cup as the highest.   

The southpaw carries the badge of the best opener for the country but he has not been able to deliver when it mattered the most, in the World Cup, and is still struggling to come to terms with it.

Occasions have been many when Tamim was seen bouncing back with his backs against the wall, and something similar was being expected when the team travelled to the island. 

Getting starts has been a problem for the Bangladesh opener. 

In most of the innings, he got off the mark decently but failed to build the innings.

With Soumya the picture is somewhat similar to Tamim, of having scored three half-centuries in 16 ODIs while his senior partner played 17 this year. 

Soumya was on fire in the tri-nation ODI series in Ireland before the World Cup but since then he has been dealing with the pale patch.

For Mahmudullah, the middle order batsman, due to combination in the team has been promoted to bat at No 5 in Sri Lanka, the batter’s preferred spot. 

But he has failed to cash in on it. 

In the first game, the right-handed batsman scored just three before giving his wicket away with an ambitious shot to third-man while in the second match, he was beaten by Akila Dananjaya’s spin, and walked back to the dressing room scoring six. 

As far as the year is concerned, Mahmudullah in 14 innings has scored just one fifty, against Australia in the World Cup.

2ND ODI

BANGLADESH INNINGS        R    B

Tamim b Udana            19    31

Soumya lbw b Pradeep        11    13

Mithun c Mendis b Dananjaya    12    23

Mushfiq not out            98    110

Mahmudullah b Dananjaya        6    18    

Sabbir run out                11    19

Mosaddek c Kusal b Udana        13    27

Miraz c Karunaratne b Pradeep    43    49

Taijul run out                3    9

Mustafizur not out            2    2

Extras (b3 lb4, w12, nb1)        20

Total (50 overs)            238/8

Fall Of Wickets

1-26 (Soumya), 2-31 (Tamim), 3-52 (Mithun), 4-68 (Mahmudullah), 5-88 (Sabbir) 6-117 (Mosaddek), 7-201 (Miraz), 8-231(Taijul)

Bowling

De Silva 10-0-39-0 (w1), Pradeep 10-0-53-2(w1, nb1), Udana 10-0-58-2(w1) Kumara 10-0-42-0(w3), Dananjaya 10-0-39-2 (w2)

SRI LANKA INNINGS            R    B

Fernando c Tamim b Mustafizur     82    75

Karunaratne b Miraz            15    29

Kusal c Soumya b Mustafizur         30    34

Mendis not out            41    74

Mathews not out            52    57

Extras (b 4, lb 5, nb 1, w 12)        22 

Total (44.4 Overs)            242/3 

Fall Of Wickets

1-71 (Karunaratne), 2-129 (Fernando), 3-146 (Kusal)

Bowling

Miraz 10-0-51-1, Shafiul 5-0-29-0, Taijul 10-2-35-0, Mustafizur 8-0-50-2, Mosaddek 7-0-32-0, Sabbir 2.4-0-20-0, Soumya 2-0-16-0

Sri Lanka won by seven wickets

MoM: Avishka Fernando