Bangladesh lost their first game of the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup against Sri Lanka
Bangladesh lost their first game of the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup against Sri Lanka as two dropped catches in crucial stages of the game proved costly but Mahmudullah’s captaincy also came under discussion.
Bangladesh put up a good total on the scoreboard in the first innings as they managed to score 171 in their 20 overs riding on Mohammad Naim’s 62 and Mushfiqur Rahim’s 57.
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Tigers were in a commanding position as after 10 overs Sri Lanka were 80 for 4. Shakib al Hasan made a double strike in the ninth over and Saifuddin also took the wicket of Wanindu Hasaranga in the 10th over. After 10 overs, Sri Lanka still required 92 from 60 balls and Tigers were on top at that moment.
But, rather than continuing Shakib, Mahmudullah gave the ball to off-spinner Mahedi Hossain in the 11th over. In the 12th over captain Mahmudullah came to bowl himself and surprisingly in the 13th over opted for another part-time off-spinner, Afif Hossain to bowl and Afif conceded a sixer in the very first ball.
Although Afif created a chance in that over but Liton Kumar Das dropped a sitter in the deep square leg and eventually the over cost 15 runs and more importantly shifted the tempo of the game completely.
Surprisingly Mahmudullah came to bowl another over again in the 14th over and this time conceded two sixes and total 16 runs.
So from 11th over to 14th over, the skipper opted for part-time off-spinners and Bangladesh conceded 41 runs in that period. Perhaps the captain thought off-spinner would be appropriate at that time as there were two left handers - Rajapakshe and Charith Asalanka - batting together.
The theory behind this might be like, “two left handers are batting, so don’t give the ball to left-arm spinners.” It has become a common perception for Bangladesh cricket team in every format over the last few years as whenever opposition’s left handers come to bat, Bangladesh go for off-spin rather than left arm spin. But there is no explanation in modern day cricket or in any cricket that a left arm spinner can’t be effective to a left-handed batter. But such theory became a norm for Bangladesh and against Sri Lanka, the same thought process was applied without much thought.
After conceding 41 runs from 11th to 14th over, where three of them were bowled by part time off-spinner, Mustafizur Rahman came to bowl in the 15th over and he conceded 5 runs. Liton dropped another sitter in that over and this time it was Asalanka’s catch.
By that time the Asalanka-Rajapakshe partnership was set and they smashed 22 runs in the 16th over against Saifuddin.
After 16 overs, the match was gone for Bangladesh as only 24 runs were needed of 24 balls for Sri Lanka with six wickets in hand.
When Shakib was pulled off from the attack after 10 overs, he was having a spell of 2-0-6-2. He was again given the ball in the 17th over but that time Bangladesh lost the plot already because only 24 runs were needed from 24 balls. Giving Shakib one more over straightaway or in between 11 to 16th over might create more pressure on Sri Lanka as the all-rounder is in brilliant form with the ball on the day he became leading wicket taker in the current tournament with 11 wickets in 4 innings.
Eventually Sri Lanka reached their 172 run target with seven balls to spare.
Interestingly Shakib and Nasum Ahmed, both the left-handed spinners had an over to spare after 18.5 overs when Bangladesh lost the match. Both Shakib and Nasum finished the match with a couple of wickets each.
No doubt Mahmudullah has been a very good captain for Bangladesh in T20I format and under his captaincy Bangladesh won home series against Australia and New Zealand, but his gambling as a skipper in the crucial match of the Super 12 stage backfired for Bangladesh and it raised questions all around.