Thursday, April 18, 2024

A mixed but encouraging bag

The 2-1 ODI series win over Sri Lanka was not only Bangladesh’s maiden bilateral ODI series win against the nation, but also managed to vault the Tigers to the top of the ICC ODI Super League. The Tigers’ think-tank was seeking improvement in quite a few areas before the start of the series but despite the result, there are still aspects which Bangladesh will really want to work on. Here, the Daily Star tries to assess the Tigers’ performance in all three departments in the just-concluded series against Sri Lanka.
Opening failure
As in the past, the Tigers’ batting department remained the biggest cause for concern in all three games against Sri Lanka. The openers are yet to add a 50-plus partnership in their last nine games, including the series against Sri Lanka when they put on 5, 15, and 2. Bangladesh are also yet to find a settled opening partner for Tamim Iqbal, with Liton Das continuing his poor run in the series series with scores of 0 and 25 before being dropped for the third game. Naim Sheikh, who replaced Liton for the third ODI, also failed to utilise the opportunity and scored just one.
Off-color Shakib
A lot was expected of Shakib Al Hasan, who returned to his usual number three position against Sri Lanka after a phenomenal performance in the 2019 ICC World Cup. But the star cricketer failed to live up to the billing, scoring 15, 0 and 4. Although the star cricketer was economical with the ball, he managed to pick just three wickets in as many games.
Majestic Mushfiqur
Mushfiqur Rahim was the anchor of Bangladesh’s batting department across the three games. In fact, the wicketkeeper-batsman waged a lone battle to secure the series victory. The right-hander was the top run-getter in the series with 237, which included one hundred and a fifty. Mushfiqur rescued the Tigers twice alongside Mahmudullah Riyad, when Bangladesh were struggling on 99 for four and 77 for four in the first two ODIs respectively. In the first game, Mushfiqur scored 84 off 87 balls before registering his eighth ODI hundred in the second game. Mushfiqur was the last batsman to be dismissed for the Tigers but not before he ensured that Bangladesh could post enough runs on the board. Mahmudullah also played his part and scored two fifties in three games.
Fielding worries continue
Prior to the start of the series, skipper Tamim stated that they wanted to improve fielding and catching, which have been below-par over the past few series. Although the fielding was decent in the first two games, the Tigers were again guilty of dropping catches in the third and final ODI. Fielders dropped three chances to send back Lankan skipper Kusal Perera, who went on to register a century and win his side the game.
Bowlers join the party
Bangladesh’s bowling department has remained the most consistent area of the team throughout the series, successfully defending scores of 257 and 246. Off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz was the most successful bowler for Bangladesh with seven wickets and he jumped to second position in the ICC’s ODI Bowlers Rankings. Apart from Miraz, pacers like Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed showed good skill alongside young Shoriful Islam, who made his ODI debut in this series.

-With The Daily Star input

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