Tigers smarting from heavy lossAzad Majumder . Kandy, Sri Lanka
Fun volleyball, swimming, water polo and long team meetings are some of the elements that Bangladesh cricket brought into play on Saturday as they were trying to overcome the heavy loss against New Zealand in their ICC World Twenty20 opener.
The fate of the Tigers in the tournament is now hanging in the balance after the 59-run defeat which now put them in a must-win situation against tournament favourites Pakistan and did a serious damage to their run rate.
They can still progress to the Super Eights but for that to happen they must now hope New Zealand beat Pakistan today which will allow them to play a knock-out game against the former champions on September 25.
If the result goes New Zealand’s way in today’s match, Bangladesh not only have to win against Pakistan but they have win it big as run-rate will come into play and after such a massive defeat it will not be very easy to overcome the deficit.
The team is fully aware of the equation and it was discussed in detail during their back-to-back meetings on Saturday at the Mahaweli Reach hotel, the Tigers den in Kandy.
The hotel, on the bank of Mahaweli River, Sri Lanka’s lifeline to its economy, saw a different kind of life in its corridor, swimming pool and tennis court as its most distinguished guests all had their share of laugh in fun-play.
But the gloom was clear to see in their faces as they were given a harsh reminder of their class by New Zealand batsman Brendan McCullum, who set a new world record in their massive win.
McCullum’s 58-ball 123, the highest individual innings in Twenty20 Internationals, showed how vulnerable Bangladesh’s bowling can be in true wicket where there is something for both bowler and a batsman.
The right-hander used his sheer power to hit some good balls for the bounda
ries but he was mostly-given the ball in areas where anyone would love to have it.
Nasir Hossain, Bangladesh’s only half-centurion in the game, said the plan was not to give him any room and bowl him on the bodyline, but none of the bowlers could execute it.
‘Sometime it happens, we had plan for every batsman. But we just could not execute it,’ said Nasir, who made 50 off 39 balls that prevented the side from more damage.
Nasir, however, refused to take any credit for his fifty that came in a defeat and in a situation when he could do nothing.
‘When I went for batting, we had very little chance of winning the game,’ said the 21-year-old right-hander. ‘So I did not feel the pressure. If we had a target of 80 runs off 60 balls maybe I would have felt some pressure.’
Nasir refuted the suggestions that the team took some unnecessary pressure on them in the first innings of the game when they went all out for a win.
It was the game that Bangladesh knew would give them their best chance and body language of the fielders suggested that the players were extremely nervous at the start.
As a consequence, fielders fumbled quite often and it quickly transmitted to bowlers who held it tight at the start but loosened up as New Zealand’s innings progressed.
‘I don’t know about others, but I was not nervous,’ said Nasir. ‘It can happen in international cricket when there is always some kind of pressure. We went for the win, but unfortunately we could not, as they played better than us.’
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