Bangladesh lost back to back ODI at Hagley Oval, Christchurch and Saxton Oval, Nelson in New Zealand. The three matches ODI series is now 2-0 in favor of the home side with the possibility of Kiwi Wash looming.
Bangladesh Bangla washed New Zealand at home in not too distant past. For a team growing into stature in world cricket, such a performance was neither expected nor desirable. Controversial selection of touring squad leaving few experienced players back home favoring rookies, controversial selection of playing eleven and finally amateurish batting of key players all can be blamed for the defeat at Nelson. That happened after a commendable performance with the bat and the ball restricting home team to a score which was not beyond the reach if Bangladesh could bat with a plan.
When Bangladesh lost the Fist ODI at Hagley Oval Christchurch failing to chase a mammoth New Zealand score tried consoling myself and others that New Zealand set tried was way too much. Bangladesh bowled and fielded poorly letting New Zealand scoring 40-50 runs too many. On the very important do and die second match team appeared with three debutants. One Nurul Hasan Sohan had to be there replacing hamstrung Mushfique, Subhashish replaced Mustafiz given rest (not yet 100% match fit and the third aging Tanvir Hyder, a weird selection. Charismatic Captain Mashrafee led and inspired Bangladesh bowled and fielded like true tigers restricting New Zealand to a manageable score of 251. Opportunity for rewriting history emerged. Bangladesh started walking along the purple path with Kayes and Shabbir started unveiling the glorious footpath. 105/1was the score at 22.5 overs chasing a target of 252 in 50 overs. They required 146 runs off 163 balls with nine wickets in hand. No ICC full member team perhaps would have lost from such a situation on an easy-paced wicket after negotiating the new ball attack so comfortably. But that was not the case for pathetic Bangladesh. A terrible mix up lets Shabbir and Kayes getting stranded at one end. That unfortunate and unprofessional way of getting run out triggered a dramatic collapse. Mahmudullah, however, got an unplayable inswinging Yorker. But the rest panicked including Shakib, Kayes, Musaddeque and the rest . 9 wickets went down for 79 runs. Off all persons- Kane Williamson with his friendly off spin got three of those Bangladesh lost by 67 runs. With 0-2 down Bangladesh is looking down the barrel with series whitewash looming.
It is not the first and the last time Bangladesh cricket team let dreams shatter. But the way it happened yesterday at beautiful Saxton Oval in Nelson shocked and rocked tiger fans around the glove. Bangladesh Cricket team appeared to have overcome teething time in international cricket. It started winning and making winning a habit. Adoring fans cannot accept their cricket heroes committing suicide without showing any character and commitment. It was painful watching Tamim, Shakib, Musaddeque and even Kayes throwing their wicket away when a little discipline was the demand of the situation.
Looking back in retrospect we find Bangladesh winning the toss and electing to field under an overcast sky in biting cold was on a roll. Captain Mashrafee was in his true elements. Dangerous Martin Guptil was consumed in the very first over. Bangladeshi bowlers especially the pacers were bowling at right length and line. Alongside Maskins (Mashrafee and Taskin) rookie Subhashish was impressive. Shakib also struck early blows. Latham, Williamson, Nisham, Monro could not do much damage.Only NT Broom held the fort expertly.He too was given to many free bees by one Tanvir Hyder whose selection ahead of proven talent Mehdi Hasan Miraj was hotly debated. Even he was not to replace Soumya Sarkar at any cost. We do not like to mention Nasir Hossain who in our opinion must have featured in the team. Broom brushed aside Bangladeshi efforts and put the backbone of Kiwis innings with a very effective 109. New Zealand went on setting a target of 252 for Bangladesh for rewriting the script. Many thought on a wicket where Bangladesh chased over 300 in 2015 defeating Scotland in ICC world cup was set for a first ever win against New Zealand in New Zealand. Ageless Mashrafee taking 3/49 was the peak of Bangladesh bowlers. Taskin and Shakib took 2 each. Even Subhashish looked impressive on his debut. For reasons, unknown Mashrafee did not use Mahmudullah although Tanvir in his 8 overs leaked runs.
Bangladesh was expected to bat with a plan featuring patience. There was no hurry with plenty of time. The wicket had no venom. The only requirement was playing cool the new ball and setting a foundation. Tamim and Kayes started solidly. They looked comfortable till Tamim chose to throw his wicket dancing down the wicket to Southee. Shabbir joining Kayes weathering the storm were going smoothly. 101 runs were scored by the 23 rd over when a terrible mix up let both batsmen stranded at one end trying for a cheeky unnecessary single. Shabbir departed. Suddenly panic sets in. Mahmudullah got a good delivery and in-swinging Yorker. The veteran Bangladeshi batsman the mainstay of Bangladesh batting in 2015 world failed yet again. Unfortunately, Mushfique was missing at this stage to calm the situation. Ace all-rounder Shakib also did not deliver. He lost his wicket to an innocuous looking delivery of Kane Williamson a part time off spinner. Kayes who was anchoring the Innings failed to carry on. When Musaddeque also failed to shoulder responsibility, it was a one-way traffic towards the pavilion. Tanvir was sent ahead of Sohan usually a far better batting talent. When Sohan and Mashrafee came, the battle was already lost. It was a poor exhibition of characterless unprofessional batting. An unpardonable suicide. Bangladesh lost by 67 runs with a lot of time and balls to spare.
Adoring fans have every reason for questioning the wisdom of preferring players like Tanvir Hyder over tried and tested Nasir Hossain. Only stupids can do that. Even if he was there he cannot be preferred over Mehdi Miraj. These Kiwis have four left-handers against whom Mehdi could be very useful. Even much lesser bowler Williamson broke the backbone of Bangladesh batsmen. Even it was far better persisting with Soumya for another match. Time has come to investigate whether some person (s ) are deliberating sabotaging the gains of Bangladesh cricket.Does not matter whoever it is.
With two of the three matches already lost a series whitewash is on the card. If that happens Bangladesh may not win anything even in the tour as the winning test is beyond the question. New Zealand in New Zealand is formidable in T20 also. Bangladesh cricket would nose dive if it digests the ignominy of a comprehensive whitewash.
Let us hope that efforts and commitments of Mashrafee won’t blow with the winds. The key players Tamim, Shakib, Mahmudullah must demonstrate greater commitments. Someone must clearly explain why Nasir Hossain is continuously ignored? What is the issue with Rubel Hossain not being given opportunity? Why could someone not do counseling to Soumya regenerating his aptitude?
It is not easy winning matches in New Zealand.But when an opportunity comes those must be grabbed with both hands. All is however not lost yet. Bangladesh can still redeem. But now something appears to be very wrong with team psyche .
Writer: Saleque Sufi
Image: Twitter of Blackcaps
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