Stuart Law lamented the four dropped catches and untimely fall of wickets in Bangladesh’s 5-run loss yesterday which sealed a series win for Zimbabwe.
The new Tigers coach, who praised Mushfiqur Rahim for the valiant century in the dark at the Harare Sports Club, was shocked to see the four clangers.
The wicketkeeper-batsman more than made up for dropping the catch of Tatenda Taibu on 41 by hammering a superb 101 off 100 balls, but with his final swing of the bat became the wicket that gave Zimbabwe the victory.
“You can’t blame him [Mushfiqur]. He’s played one of the best innings of his career. It’s just a shame that a guy who plays an innings like that ends up in the losing team. He’s absolutely distraught in the dressing room,” said Law at the post-match press conference.
“If some of the batsmen who got out before him did things differently, it would’ve been a different story. I still can’t get out of the head the four catches we dropped, that probably cost us,” he said.
The Tigers had an on-and-off chase especially after Tamim Iqbal ran himself out bizarrely and then Shakib Al Hasan was caught superbly by Prosper Utseya to make it 124 for four.
Mushfiqur, who strained his hamstring during the innings and was not available to collect his man-of-the-match trophy, carried the Tigers into a winning position through two important partnerships, but those two ended in dismal fashion.
“We tried hard today. We had plans that we stuck to. It was looking pretty good at some stage but we came out the wrong side. We put up a good fight. Once again, credit to Zimbabwe. They showed how to bat.
“A couple of silly mistakes at the wrong time cost us the match today,” said the former Australian cricketer. Now Law believes that his team has finally woken up, due to the close loss, and have all to play for in Bulawayo in the last two one-dayers.
“I don’t think we need to lift the team anymore. We were well up for the game today, we fielded well in the first 20 overs. Lot of hustle, noise, encouragement and some great stops.
“Even though the series is gone, there’s pride at stake. It would be nice to get out of Harare to erase some bad memories of our cricket here,” he said.
It was Bangladesh’s first one-day series loss to Zimbabwe in five years and despite the hosts coming back into Test cricket after six years, it was their preparation this time that won the day.
“Zimbabwe have had fantastic preparation; they played tough cricket against Australia A and South Africa A leading into the series.
“Our preparation probably wasn’t ideal with the monsoon at home. We played games against our Academy, probably not the sternest test before we come here and play a team that has played tough cricket,” said Law.
His opposite number Alan Butcher hailed his team’s fighting spirit and said he’d love to make a clean sweep of it. “We shouldn’t get too carried away. We won a Test and three ODIs but there are areas of improvement. We knew that from the first two games that Bangladesh were capable of playing better than they did. And they showed it.
“We’d really love to have a 5-0 win,” said Butcher, who praised his two young fast bowlers.
“A year ago we never heard of Brian Vitori. He wasn’t getting any franchise. Kyle Jarvis was struggling with an injury; we weren’t sure when he’s coming back. Those two have really come forward,” he said.
-With The Daily Star input