Mortaza laments team's failure in converting opening stand into respectable total

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza says that post the 21st over low-risk cricket should have been resorted to for the next 14-15 overs.

Bangladesh's captain Mashrafe Mortaza leaves the ground dejected after India won the Asia Cup final on Saturday.   -  AP

Mashrafe Mortaza was disappointed to lose yet another last-ball battle to India but he was not dejected considering Bangladesh had made it to the final of the Asia Cup and even stretched favourite India to the fullest in the summit clash. Mortaza lamented his team's failure in converting an opening partnership of 118 into a respectable total.

“To be honest, we wanted a partnership when Riyad (Mahmudullah) and Mushfiq (Mushfiqur Rahim) were batting. We were 120 in the 21st over. If we had played low-risk cricket for the next 14-15 overs, we could have added 60-70 runs for the loss of one wicket,” Mortaza said after the team's narrow loss to India on Friday night.

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“Mushfiq couldn’t execute well. The run-outs also hurt. Intent doesn’t mean getting out playing big shots. You have to look after the batting after the good start. We should have scored 250-260 on this wicket.”

Despite Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz -- who was sent in to open the innings for shielding the specialist batsmen -- putting on an opening stand of 118, Bangladesh wilted and put on 222 runs on the board. The bowlers held their nerves and got regular breakthroughs in the latter half to stretch the match to the final over.

However, with little cushion of runs, Mortaza was forced to bowl himself out along with stand-out pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain. It meant either Soumya Sarkar or Mahmudullah had to shoulder the tough task of defending six runs off the last over.

After throwing the ball to Sarkar first, the medium-pacer who was whacked for a last-ball six by Dinesh Karthik in the Nidahas Trophy T20 final in March, Mortaza had a change of heart and he introduced Mahmudullah, the off-spinner.

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“I changed (the) bowler. I asked Mahmudullah if he was confident. He had the experience of bowling in these situations in the last over in BPL. He won the game for his side bowling the last over for his side. Soumya would have been easier to score off,” Mortaza said.

“I said to him that the only chance we will have is when they mishit one. We wanted Kuldeep to mis-hit one, because Jadhav is a recognised batsman. He would have better calculations. The inside-edge off the fifth ball could have gone to the stumps. Actually, you need luck in these situations. But when we had it under control, we couldn’t capitalise.”