Despite giving India a good run for their money in their three-match T20Is series, the result ultimately went against Bangladesh, and Mahmudullah, leading the side after Shakib Al Hasan was banned for a year, conceded afterwards that his team had “a long way to go” in the format.
On the night, Bangladesh lost their last eight wickets for just 34 runs in the space of 6.2 overs – Deepak Chahar picking up a hat-trick on his way to record-breaking returns of 6 for 7 – to collapse from a commanding 110 for 2 in the 13th over to be bowled out for 144.
“We had our chance when we needed 50 runs off 30 balls, but we lost a few wickets rapidly. It cost us the match,” Mahmudullah said. “If you analyse these three games, we played good cricket. It is hard to get the momentum back once you lose it in T20 cricket. As I have mentioned, we were very close in this game. We lost three or four wickets in six or seven balls. It was the crucial part of this game. We can’t make these mistakes again and again.
“Honestly, we have a long way to go in T20s. We are a team dependent on skilled hitting, not big hitters. If we can be consistent with our game sense and mentality, we can improve in this format.”
“I think we are not overdoing in giving opportunities. It is important to back players in T20Is where it is hard to be consistent”
Having arrived in India without two of their best players in Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, and the emerging Mohammad Saifuddin, and on the back of the much-publicised players’ strike, there were doubts about the team’s ability. But newcomer Mohammad Naim played a sparkling innings in the last game, while Shafiul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain took responsibility with the new and old ball. Legspinner Aminul Islam showed glimpses of his skills, and Mushfiqur Rahim played a match-winning knock in the first game.
But prominent players like Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Mustafizur Rahman didn’t have a good time at all.
“I think we are not overdoing in giving opportunities,” Mahmudullah said. “It is important to back players in T20Is where it is hard to be consistent. As a team and the management, we should back players who are going through a rough time.
“Every cricketer has a time in their career when they go through a patch of five or six games. I think we expect a lot from [Mustafizur, who went wicketless in all the games]. He is a champion bowler. I don’t think we should give him a rethink. We should support him. He is working hard. It is a matter of one match.”
Where Mustafizur faltered, Al-Amin returned to the T20I side after three years displaying all the guiles that have helped him become a strong performer in the domestic scene. “Al-Amin was brilliant. He is one of our best T20 bowlers, if you look at his track record. I was confident that he would do well here.”
It went 2-1 to India, but could well have been 2-1 to the visitors had they batted with more purpose in the last game, where young Naim scored a 48-ball 81 but Mohammad Mithun’s 27 was the next best. In fact, the two of them were the only ones to get into double-digits as Nos 5, 6, 7 and 8 scored 17 runs between them.
“It was an attractive innings,” Mahmudullah said of Naim’s innings. “I felt bad for him that we couldn’t finish what he had done with his innings.”