Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was searching for words to express yet another inexplicable batting collapse against New Zealand after the third and final one-dayer at the Saxton Oval in Nelson yesterday.
The Black Caps won the game by eight wickets to complete a 3-0 series sweep but the post-match briefing was more focused on a similar batting collapse for a second successive game.
Bangladesh yesterday collapsed to 236-9 after a 104-run opening partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, two days after they had stumbled from 105-1 to 184 all out at the same venue.
“We have committed the same mistake. How can I explain this? May be we mentally failed to do what they have done. It is happening repeatedly and it shows that we were not mentally strong enough,” Mashrafe told reporters.
“I think skill-wise we have matched them, but not mentally,” he observed.
When asked about the uncertainty in the lower middle-order in the absence of Mushfiqur Rahim, the captain was quite frank to say that the back-up players are certainly not up to that mark.
“We did not expect our middle order to collapse the way it did. We have got the back-up players but they are certainly not as good as we have got for over a year-and-half. There was a set of players who have been performing for over one-and-a-half years. But it’s difficult to replace them with the back-up players,” the captain admitted.
Asked how he explains the performance of the senior members of the team, he said: “Honestly speaking there were a few individual performances from the senior players. It has often been the case that the junior members of the team also contribute with the seniors. Shakib [Al Hasan] played a good innings in the first game, Tamim [Iqbal] played a good innings today, Imrul [Kayes] played well in the last two games; but obviously those were not effective performances.”
But when asked if a score of 40 or 50 is good enough from his senior players, he said: “Personally I don’t think if you score 40 or 50 it’s a big knock. It is tough to play against the hard ball here but the batting becomes easier when it get softer. So, in that context if you are set you are supposed to carry on for a big innings. Besides, after we lost Mushfiqur we needed a collective effort which was missing.”
The Tigers captain also said that if they had played sensibly after that century partnership it could have been different.
“Condition is a factor. But the question is that whether we have created that chance. It could have been different if we had not created that chance. We have created chances in the last two games but we could not carry on with that. From this point of view I’m very disappointed. We should have won the last match. And if we could have scored 290-300 today it could have been a different ball game,” said the captain acidly.
But he was against the notion of a sweeping judgment that they are a bad team away from home, adding that the biggest positive in these three defeats was that they created opportunities in the last two games.
“We have done well at home. We now have to see how well we can perform for the next one-and-a-half years away from home. And it is too early to judge us after these defeats. We have a lot of positives in defeats. We have created chances. We have got a long tour ahead, and one good performance can change everything,” concluded a forward-looking Bangladesh skipper.
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