Mahmudullah blames slow pitch for defeat

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:30, Jan 24,2020

 
 
Soumya Sarker

Bangladesh batsman Soumya Sarker reacts after he was bowled by Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi during their first Twenty20 international at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday. — AFP photo

Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah on Friday blamed himself and fellow middle-order batsmen for their defeat against Pakistan in the first Twenty20 match, as they failed to cope up with the slow-paced nature of the pitch in the final part of their innings.

‘I personally felt that I could’ve finished a little better,’ Mahmudullah told reporters in the post-match press conference in Lahore.

‘I think the way we batted at the powerplay, it was spot on. I think Tamim [Iqbal] and [Mohammad] Naim batted really well. But as the ball got older, the pitch condition changed. It was difficult for the latter batsmen to come and go for the big shots straight away.

‘Once the ball got a bit older, it wasn’t coming on to the bat as we were anticipating. It was holding up a little bit and batsmen were struggling to get underneath the ball,’ he added.

Bangladesh innings never really took off, despite their openers Tamim and Naim forming a 71-run stand, as it took the pair 11 overs to amass those runs.

The Tigers needed some hefty blows from the remaining batsmen to post a fighting total, but they failed to deliver as Bangladesh managed to score only 141-5 in their stipulated overs which was way below par.

Bangladesh then revived the chances of an unlikely victory, when they dismissed Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez in the powerplay but Shoaib Malik stood up to the challenge and shepherded his team to victory.

Malik, however, didn’t play a chanceless innings, giving a catch in the 18th over and a run-out chance in the final over, but survived on both occasions.

Mahmudullah rued those missed opportunities, claiming the result could have been different had they taken those chances.

‘I think we dropped ourselves in the fielding department. We missed a few catches and we didn’t take some run out chances. Otherwise it would have been a different story,’ Mahmudullah said.

Mahmudullah also praised his bowlers for dragging the match to the final over but lamented a few easy boundaries they gifted the batters.

‘We were able to take the match to the final over despite scoring 140. That was a good effort from the bowlers. Bowlers bowled well, but we gave away some easy boundaries on some occasions. We gave around six-seven easy boundaries through the leg side. We could’ve done those things a little better,’ he said.

Bangladesh lacked in experience in the middle-order against Pakistan in the absence of national stalwart Mushfiqur Rahim and their attempt of forming a batting order with five openers also backfired.

Mahmudullah said the team missed Mushfiq in the match but they were not dwelling on his absence and were looking forward to the opportunities in front of them.

‘We always miss the service of Mushfiqur Rahim because he has been an experienced campaigner for our side. A top performer in all three formats in our country. But he is not here at the moment.

‘We can’t just sit back... We need to find some other things and we need to take those opportunities and perform very well,’ Mahmudullah said.

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