The bowlers once again looked helpless while the batting unambitious as host Bangladesh failed to save their skin losing the two-match T20I series 2-0 against Sri Lanka. The Tigers were tamed yet again as visiting Lankans won the second and final T20I by 75 runs at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium Sunday.
The past one month for the Tigers was not a good one. They were boosted with international cricket returning home after around four months only to later hit an unexpected low. Losing the tri-nation ODI series despite a flying start, followed by a 1-0 defeat in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka had the dressing room in a quandary. Coming into the T20Is, Bangladesh had hoped to save the small bit of reputation left, but it was not to be - the home side were whitewashed.
With the defeat, Bangladesh are now left to work on both the batting and bowling department, which have been left exposed. The “never say die attitude”, which had become a brand for the side when it reached new heights need to be worked on.
The BCB's plan to ride out the success with a temporary administrator in the dressing room in the shape of a “technical director”, along with the theory of putting the senior cricketers in charge of the show, have gone horribly wrong. Finding a new head coach has become a must now. The sooner, the better. Since Chandika Hathurusingha's resignation in November last year, the BCB has not been able to rope in a head coach for the team, raising serious questions regarding the board's ability. What has happened to all the connections its influential directors possess?
The massive and crucial to-do list however, has to be met within the next two weeks or so, before Bangladesh head to Sri Lanka for the T20I tri-series involving India and the host. The board has already informed of not having a coach in place for the Tigers' first away tour of the year. With that said, they can always work on their findings as to what went wrong.
Bangladesh Sunday playing their first international game in Sylhet won the toss. The stand-in captain Mahmudullah opted to bowl first with four changes, including two debutants, in the playing XI. Opener Tamim Iqbal had returned recovering from muscle strain to replace wicketkeeper-batsman Zakir Hasan while stumper-batsman Mohammad Mithun came in place of batsman Sabbir Rahman. Local pacer Abu Jayed made his first international appearance replacing paceman Rubel Hossain while spinner Mehedi Hasan made his debut, replacing all-rounder Afif Hossain.
But as was regularly the case over the past few weeks, Bangladesh experienced a terrible failure as Sri Lanka batsmen registered their fourth highest total in the shortest format. Losing four wickets, the visiting side posted 210 on the board as opener Kusal Mendis recorded his second consecutive fifty. The right-handed batsman boosted the Lankan total with a flashy 42-ball 70 with half a dozen boundaries and three over boundaries and featured in a 98-run stand with his opening partner Danushka Gunathilaka. Mendis, who had come in place of the injured Kusal Perera, was spot on making his mark while the Bangladesh bowlers were left frustrated.
Left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu in his second T20I emerged as the best performer with the ball for his side, conceding 28 runs in his quota of four overs. Nazmul was left without a scalp on the day but that should not hurt him. All the other bowlers went for more than 10 runs per over. The attack included part-timer Soumya Sarkar and the occasional right-arm pacer had done his job, getting a breakthrough at a time when the opposition were running away with the game. But it did not stop the Lankans from getting to the mammoth total as Gunathilaka scored 42 while all-rounder Thisara Perera added 31 off 17, alongside an unbeaten 30 off 11 from Dasun Shanaka at the end.
With a massive chase up ahead, Bangladesh were thrown out from the competition quite early. The side’s top three batsmen were sent back within the first three overs with only 22 runs on the board. Tamim sustained just about enough to add 29 to the Tigers’ tally and stitched together a 37-run stand for the fourth wicket with Mahmudullah. Tamim's dismissal was taken as a sign of defeat by the excited Sylhet crowd who started leaving the stands immediately.
Mahmudullah was the only Bangladesh batsman who offered any sort of resistance, adding 41 to the chase. He added 42 with Saifuddin for the sixth wicket. Mahmudullah's dismissal in the 15th over with the scoreboard reading 110 meant a loss was just moments away. In 18.4 overs, the Tigers were all out for 135. Seamer Shehan Madushanka picked up two wickets before leaving the ground bowling just 2.1 overs due to muscle injury. Right-arm occasional spinner Gunathilaka bowled just four balls in the game and had a big laugh as he walked off with two wickets to his name and leave Bangladesh in disarray.
135 in 18.4 overs (Mahmudullah 41, Tamim 29) lost to Sri Lanka
210/4 (Mendis 70, Gunathilaka 42) by 75 runs