Saturday, September 23, 2023

Still room for improvement

The under pressure Bangladesh side achieved the best of all possible outcomes in Chittagong after a shocking defeat against West Indies to revive the flagging enthusiasm among the cricket crazy fans in the country about the ICC World Cup.
Taking advantage of the conditions the Tigers displayed a splendid team spirit to script a famous two-wicket victory over England which was followed by a comfortable six-wicket win against Netherlands on way to keeping their quarterfinal chances very much alive.
On both occasions, the bowlers laid the foundations as the slow and low surface in the port city suited them most. But the most encouraging fact was that the team played together as a perfect ‘unit’. There had been lot of talk about the team’s recent dependence on two players in captain Shakib Al Hasan and dashing opener Tamim Iqbal but in the last two games it was refreshingly proven wrong after the way players like Mahmudullah Riyad, Shafiul Islam and Imrul Kayes came forward to rescue their team.
While the Tigers have made some stirring comebacks in the tournament, there are some areas where Jamie Siddons’s men must improve ahead of the big challenge against South Africa in the last group match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on March 19.
As Bangladesh vice-captain Tamim Iqbal and experienced left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak both said yesterday, the team is hardly looking at any equation rather they are charged up to qualify into the quarterfinals by winning their last Group B match against mighty South Africa. To do that, however, the Tigers’ have to show much better performances than in their last two games.
It is not as if the conditions at Mirpur are much different from Chittagong, but the opponent is also tougher because South Africa is one of the big teams in the showcase event, especially they have variety in their bowling attack, so it would be a real test for the Bangladesh batting which has yet to prove it’s best in the tournament.
“Definitely we are happy after the way we bounced back in the tournament to win the last two games but we are yet to show our best batting performance in the tournament. I think there is a lot of scope to improve our batting,” admitted Tamim while talking with this reporter yesterday.
“I am glad to see that everybody tried their best to contribute for the team and that’s why we won the last two games. It was the result of total teamwork. The last two match result reflected that everybody has been trying to improve their performance and everybody is hungry to contribute for the team. It’s nice that everybody is trying to play their part but Shakib and myself must also play our roles as per expectations,” said Tamim adding: “I’m disappointed with my performance because I failed to do something special in my home ground. I’m not happy with my batting performance because 30/40 runs doesn’t mean anything. I failed to score as per my expectation and now I’m looking forward to the next group match” The left-hander made two ducks in five innings besides, 70, 44 and 38.
Praising his partner Imrul Kayes’ batting performance in the last two games, Tamim said that it just showed that everybody has been trying to follow the coach’s team role.
“You know that the coach gave everybody a specific role in the team and its nice to see that all are trying their best to play according to that role.”
The team has been in a good shape after two victories but despite that Tamim believes that they must focus on their batting if they want to win the big matches.
“We have to mind it that the conditions suited our bowlers most in the last two games. We need to have some big partnerships up top and in Dhaka we would need a handsome total to defend if we bat first and on the other hand you have to chase a handsome total against South Africa if you bat second,” said Tamim, who was however very much upbeat about their chance against South Africa.
Razzak also echoed the sentiment.
“We would need at least 2/3 big partnerships against South Africa. I think we are playing good cricket despite a setback against West Indies but there is a lot of scope to improve our batting. Everybody is looking forward to playing against South Africa because nobody is concentrating on any equation rather they want to win the match to qualify into the quarterfinals,” said the experienced campaigner, who led the spin-battery from the front in the last two games by taking five wickets.
“The slow and low wicket in Chittagong helped us lot but it would be a different scenario in Dhaka where we must bat well,” opined Razzak.
Imrul Kayes not only showed a rare consistency but also set an example by finishing the last game on Monday and this kind of effort will be needed more from the top order batsmen.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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