Another important T20 practice match against an associate side, another opportunity for our Tigers to show that they’re learning from previous mistakes, and demonstrate that they're finally starting to get that rhythm right. Then again, T20 cricket perhaps offers most of those glorious uncertainties, and a single over or two can make the impossible happen.
The impossible didn't happen and Bangladesh won with 4 overs to spare. That said, the Scottish total did not have to be 145. Play with fire too much and you’re bound to get burned someday. We need professionalism, not cute little ploys that can bite us in the butt when least expected. I’m glad that it didn't this time around, thanks to Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel and Farhad Reza with the ball, and Aftab Ahmed and most notably, Mohammad Nazimuddin with the bat.
Cricinfo didn’t provide any ball-by-ball details, and without that particular benefit, this one sided post-mortem has a higher margin of error than usual … apologies.
We fielded first and here are the bowling figures: -
Bowling O M R W Econ
1. Syed Rasel 4 0 20 0 5.00
2. Abdur Razzak 2 0 6 2 3.00
3. Mashrafe Mortaza 4 0 42 2 10.50 (1w)
4. Farhad Reza 4 0 24 0 6.00
5. Shakib Al Hasan 4 0 28 2 7.00
6. Mohammad Ashraful 2 0 19 1 9.50
Abdur Razzak was highly effective opening the bowling once again, and his two wickets provided the early breakthrough which perhaps set the stage for a Scottish defeat right off the bat. Two wickets with an economy of 3.00 is simply outstanding. The increasingly important Syed Rasel was suffocating as always with yet another 5-ish economy rate after his allotted spell. The RaRa tandem continues to impress and look to be the T20 edition of our SLA Trio from the WC07.
Farhad Reza had his second match with a bowling economy of 6.5 or less. I sincerely hope that he can carry on replicating such performances against better teams with better batsmen.
Mashrafe Bin Murtaza’s figures again don’t look too hot in this particular version of the game, where containment is paramount to effective bowling. He needs to get his economy down to 6.5 and below to an effective T20 bowler. I’d gladly trade those 2 wickets for a better economy.
Shakib Al Hasan's figures, though not nearly as bad and heavily mitigated by those two wickets, also need to head in that particular direction. He's just coming back from an injury and I think we can safely cut him some slack at this point.
Mohammad Ashraful continues to be expensive and needs to explore other options before the big dance. I’m still trying to figure out why he didn’t bowl out Abdur Razzak who alongside his RaRa partner Syed Rasel, is the best we have. Having himself and Mashrafe bowl the last two overs, in spite of the late wickets, seem totally nonsensical from where I’m sitting, unless a dubious flair for the dramatic guided that peculiar decision. I’ll rate this team bowling performance a 3.5 out of 5, simply because of a stellar performance from the RaRa tandem, well supported by Farhad Reza.
st Mushfiqur Rahim b Abdur Razzak
Yet another stumping from Mushfiqur Rahim behind the stumps was somewhat mitigated on paper by those 5 byes. That said, a stumping is a stumping is a stumping, and still pleasant to read about, especially when it is our Mushy who’s doing it.
Now to the traditional Achilles heel of our cricket, the batting.
Bangladesh innings (target: 146 runs from 20 overs) R M B 4s 6s SR
1.Tamim Iqbal c Brown b Blain 8 3 6 2 0 133.33
2.Nazimuddin not out 74 62 42 9 3 176.19
3.Aftab Ahmed st Smith b Lyons 33 33 27 5 0 122.22
4.Mohammad Ashraful b Lyons 4 7 7 0 0 57.14
5.Shakib Al Hasan b Haq 8 7 6 0 1 133.33
6.Alok Kapali not out 9 10 9 0 0 100.00
Extras (lb 2, w 9, nb 1) 12
Total (4 wickets; 16 overs; 66 mins) 148 (9.25 runs per over)
Tamim Iqbal played 6 balls, hit a couple of boundaries and walked back to the pavilion. Maybe the world class Scottish bowling did the trick, or maybe it was some of those habits we have come to know too well. Either way, this type of early exit does nobody other than the opposition any favors. Maybe this time we can see what Junaid Siddique has to offer at this level and demote Tamim further down the batting order, and relieve the early pressure put on the team as a result of his untimely dismissals.
Nazimuddin continues to shine where others don’t, at least not nearly as much, and looks to be our ace-in-the-hole
in this tournament and possibly others yet to come. He is that special player nobody took much notice of and he’s making sure that they do. This young Chittagonian too has outstanding shots at his arsenal, and the right attitude to apply them effectively. The 9.25 run rate in the match is largely his work with the bat. Third match in a row where he deserved to be the MOM, and the second match where he has been. Just look at these number again and put a cheery on top: -
Nazimuddin not out 74 62 42 9 3 176.19
I will throw that cautious optimism to the wind and proclaim that a star is born, and he is here to stay by the supreme grace of Allah.
Great to see Aftab Ahmed getting back into his act after some of the post-marital hiccups. Sort of the taking the back seat and letting Nazimuddin be Nazimuddin proved to be absolutely the right way to go. Maintaining a strike rate of 120 plus while doing that insinuates wonderful things to come in his and our T20 future. Being stumped after playing such a crucial role does add to some of the disappointments that have followed him for a while now, but a 27 ball 33 in a T20 match, especially batting at number 3 after yet another early breakthrough for the opposition, is significantly more valuable indeed than those damaging ODI and Test innings of the past.
I have no idea as to how Ashraful and Shakib managed to get themselves bowled out after playing 7 only balls each, and frankly speaking, I don't care to find out. They need some serious introspection if that, and I'm sure other things, help avoiding such failures against the likes of N'tini, Edwards and Powell. They're lucky that the talismanic Nazimuddin already won the match for us and Alok Kapali was there to provide the easy finishing touches and go through the formalities with 24 balls to space.
I'll give the batting performance a 3.5 out of 5 only because Nazimuddin gets full marks and Aftab a solid 4. All in all a decisive victory for the tigers that, considering the opposition, gets a 3.5 out of 5 in my book.