A change sometime can bring a positive energy to a team. Bangladesh also experienced it in the first Twenty20 international against South Africa on Thursday when Sakib al Hasan took the rein of their Twenty20 side from Mashrafee bin Murtaza. In a tour when nothing was going right for Bangladesh this was the first time they looked at least competitive. While this could be a kind of consolation Bangladesh had little chance to live with that.
Looking back at the game they have reasons to regret things that had always in their control. New captain Sakib would perhaps be the most repentant man as some of his decisions in the match clearly lacked maturity, though he was not new in the role.
The Tigers opted for four seamers in the game but started with two spinners that appeared somewhat bizarre.
But things did not end up here as Sakib introduced his all four seamers in the next five overs only for everyone to receive a disdainful hammering from South African batsman Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers.
Apart from Rubel Hossain, Sakib did not dare to give any of these pacers more than one over in their respective first spell, which clearly suggested that he lacked confidence in them.
Sakib was quick to realise that could only stop the run flow of opponents by reintroducing his spinners and this thinking proved to be correct.
After South Africa reached 77-1 in first seven overs, Sakib brought back Mehedi Hasan, who bowled Hashim Amla in his first over, and himself and much to his surprise, Bangladesh did not concede any boundary in the next two overs.
The lack of boundaries inevitably created some pressures on South Africa and result came in the shape of a wicket of De Villiers.
As spinners chocked South African batsmen, it encouraged Sakib to give the ball to Mahmudullah, who also conceded just 13 runs in his first two overs.
In fact Bangladesh did not concede a boundary from eight to 15 overs which was unthinkable especially after the manner in which South Africa started their innings.
Spinners dominated the phase when only two sixes were struck and one of them off a full toss that slipped out of Mehedi’s grip.
South Africa regained control in their innings only after Sakib decided to bring back his pace bowlers with whom he had no confidence earlier in the innings.
Shafiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, and Safiuddin bowled the last three overs, which only allowed David Miller and Farhaan Behardien scoring freely again. It left Sakib and Mahmudullah unused for one over each in a game when spinners had the edge over batsmen.
South Africa scored 39 runs in the last three overs to set up a record target for Bangladesh, who, despite a positive start with the bat, could not overcome the mental block.
One may wonder what would have happened if they had chosen the right combination for the game with Nasir Hossain, who had the ability to bowl few overs, inexplicably sitting out to provide room for the wayward seamers.
They had the chance to win the game even without someone like Nasir late in their batting order with Soumya Sarkar choosing the game to show his skill with 47 off 31 balls.
Sakib also prompted himself up in the order and despite getting dismissed for just 13 runs his positive approach helped Bangladesh reach 97-2 half-way through their innings.
But the skipper also made an unexpected move in the batting line up bringing up Sabbir Rahman ahead of Mahmudullah, probably the best Twenty20 batsman in the country. Sabbir struck two sixes during his cameo but was oblivious of taking doubles and singles.
His inability to rotate the strike inevitably forced Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah to go for big shots when their stay in the crease simply could have done the job for Bangladesh.
-With New Age input