Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Riding on a fabulous 2-1 One-Day International series victory over India at home, Bangladesh entered its limited-overs series against South Africa high on confidence.
But much to the disappointment of the capacity crowd that turned up at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday (July 7), Mashrafe Mortaza’s men fell short, losing the first Twenty20 International by 52 runs, reports International Cricket Council.
Bangladesh’s main concern ahead of the second and final T20I on Tuesday would be its batting under pressure. Chasing 149 in Sunday’s game, the batsmen allowed the South African bowlers to capitalise and eventually restrict the side to 96.
First, it was the pacers Kagiso Rabada, David Wiese and Kyle Abbott who crippled the top order, followed by a vicious spin assault from JP Duminy and Aaron Phangiso.
Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das were the only three batsmen who registered double-digit scores, with the rest of the batting order collapsing inside 18.5 overs.
“We discussed how we couldn’t play according to our plan,” Soumya Sarkar told reporters ahead of the second encounter. “The two early wickets kept us on the back foot. Otherwise we had planned around 40-45 runs in the first six overs. It would have helped the next batsmen.”
Sarkar, who scored 40, 34 and 54 against India, but could only manage seven in the first T20I against South Africa, added: “I think everyone, including myself, understands that I am getting out after getting set. I feel disappointed that it is hurting the team. We are discussing ways to get out of this situation.”
South Africa, on the other hand, had Faf du Plessis leading from the front with a valiant 61-ball 79, ably supported by Rilee Rossouw, who struck a quick-fire 31 to help his side post a competitive total.
But Arafat Sunny, the left-arm spinner who returned figures of 2 for 19, said Bangladesh would continue to refrain from concentrating on restricting specific opposition batsmen. This approach, he said, helped him pick up the wicket of AB de Villiers.
“It is important not to concentrate too much on the batsmen,” said Sunny. “Otherwise a bowler goes under pressure. I tried to bowl according to my plan and not focus too much on the batsman. I think it helped me. I was told that I cannot bowl too full or even slightly short at him (de Villiers). I was only focussing on a specific length to keep him in check. Luckily he aired one and I got his wicket. I think the pitch was helpful to the spinners, so I could find a bit of turn and try to control the scoring rate.”
Bangladesh could well turn to spin again to restrict the South Africans, who found the going difficult on a sluggish pitch. But it will need a combined effort to combat the threat from the World Cup semifinalist.
The two teams will go on to play three ODIs and two Tests after this contest.
BANGLADESH: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Litton Das, Sohag Gazi/Jubair Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Mustafizur Rahman
SOUTH AFRICA: Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, David Miller, Rilee Rossouw, David Wiese, Wayne Parnell, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, Aaron Phangiso.