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22 February, 2019 10:56:49 AM

Flawed top order cripples Tigers in ODI series

Pacers also not good enough to vie at NZ condition
Sports Reporter, Dhaka
Flawed top order cripples Tigers in ODI series
Bangladesh’s Liton Das hits the ball into the air and is caught during their 2nd ODI match against New Zealand at Hagley Oval in Christchurch last Saturday. AFP PHOTO

Hardly any team finds it easier to conquer the New Zealand condition. Over the last 10 years, only three teams—South Africa, England and India won an ODI series here with South Africa making it twice. England and India lost a series of ODI series before conquering the condition on the back of some superb top order batting and world class pace and spin attack.

The recipe to win here is simple: a team needs strong top order and bowling line up which the above stated three teams have. India’s 4-1 victory was latest, which came just ahead of Bangladesh’s tour in New Zealand. India though have huge loopholes in late middle order, their top order included three batsmen—Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who are not only best batsmen of their generation but also easily could be one of the best the world cricket has ever seen. They have two best pacers of the world in Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who were complemented by leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav. So it was no wonder that they won’t win a series here.

But Bangladesh hadn’t had that luxury even though they came here with a hope of winning some matches. The reality however gave them a harsh experience. Even in the good, almost Bangladesh-like wicket in the last New Zealand tour in 2017, they fumbled to taste a fatal defeat. In the ongoing tour, they also got a wicket to their likings at least in the first ODI but suffered a humiliating eight-wicket defeat. In the second ODI, they also suffered a same margin defeat before being crushed by 88 runs in the third ODI.

One thing in three defeats remained unchanged: the top order failed miserably. In all three matches, they lost first five batsmen before crossing 100 runs mark. Quite comfortably the culpable was the two senior top order batsmen—Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim who scored 10 and 46 runs respectively in three matches. Whereas there was high expectation on both of the duo because of their magnificent BPL T20 form. Tamim Iqbal specially came here on the back of the marauding 61 ball-141 not out in the final of BPL which steered his side Comilla Victorians to clinch the trophy. That was the innings many pondered one of the best T20 knocks the shortest format of the cricket has ever seen.

The common thing between the two senior batsmen were that both of them were vulnerable against the express pace of Kiwi bowlers and the height with which the local bowlers operated, they found it tough to negotiate. When those two batsmen struggled, other batsmen got hardly anything to be inspired. But Mohammad Mithun and Saifuddin, both of whom played for the first time in this condition was excellent—at least in valuing their wicket. Mithun’s 62 in the first ODI should offer a recipe to other batsmen as to how they should bat here. But no one was eager to learn. Mithun again made 57 in the second ODI amid the failure of top order before a hamstring injury ruled him out for the third match. Saifuddin at the lower order proved why he is being rated as the successor of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. He made valuable runs under pressure and also took wickets if not in abundance. Sabbir Rahman made a maiden century in his career which should motivate him to do well but it came in a losing-cause. Nevertheless the magnitude of the century is huge given the way he built up the innings which should give some shamble to his illustrious senior colleagues.

Shakib Al Hasan’s absence in the batting order looked profound but given his current form, his inclusion probably couldn’t prevent Bangladesh’s from going downhill spiral.

Bangladesh’s pace bowling renaissance prompted many insisting that it is one of the best bowling attacks in ODI cricket currently. But the reality is apart from in slow wicket, they have no ingredients to thrive. They mostly rely on cutters and slower, which is effective in slow wicket but not in other wicket, it is worthless weapon that the New Zealand tour showed.

Bangladesh however got a slow wicket in the first ODI in Napier but couldn’t make it count before they were outclassed in the last two ODIs. The most disappointing figure was Mustafizur Rahman who leaked 93 runs in the last ODI, which was third worst bowling figure for Bangladesh.

As far as pace is concerned Bangladesh pacers were behind by mile by their New Zealand counterparts. Where all of the New Zealand pacers operated with over 140 Km, the likes of Mustafizur, Mashrafe and Saifuddin could hardly touch 130 Km. But more than bowling, it was the fault of top order batting which prevented them from making at least some resistance. And at the end they ended up being whitewashed almost without any resistance.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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