Bangladesh’s bowlers were out of sync with the plans that had been discussed, and repeated mistakes, according to head coach Russell Domingo, and that was the reason they failed to defend two decent totals in a row in the ODI series against Zimbabwe. Both matches were lost by five wickets, as 304 and 291 were chased down with enough to spare; this, after Zimbabwe won the T20I series too. This was Bangladesh’s poorest bowling performance in an ODI series in the last 18 months. And it came after their best performance, when they beat West Indies 3-0 last month.
“[Zimbabwe] were 60  for 3 and 49 for 4 [in the first and second ODIs, respectively], but the boys didn't deal with the pressure well enough,” Domingo said.
“Too many knock-ons in the field, too many soft balls, too many balls bowled to the wrong field, wrong options taken. The boys are trying but they are not learning quickly enough. They are making those same mistakes over and over again. That’s the most disappointing thing. Good teams will punish you in these conditions, where it is difficult to defend the scores. They got punished by four really good hundreds [two from Sikandar Raza, and one each from Innocent Kaia and Regis Chakabva] in the last two games.”
“You have got to give credit to Zimbabwe, particularly Sikandar, he has played fantastically well. Two of the better one-day hundreds you will find under pressure. We left 20 runs out [in both the ODIs]. It is very difficult to defend in the afternoon. Zimbabwe thoroughly deserved the win in both those matches.”
Domingo pointed out Bangladesh could have been in a better position had one or more of their batters played long innings. In the first, Bangladesh’s top four got fifties, but Litton Das’ 81, before he retired hurt, was the best. In the second, Mahmudullah's 80 not out was the best effort. “It is very difficult to criticise the one-day team, based on their performance of the last year-and-a-half,” Domingo said.
“They have had some amazing results and fantastic wins. Batting second here is a bit of a factor but there's a lot of work to be done. Zimbabwe has four hundreds, we have got none. Bottom line is that you need hundreds to get match-winning scores. Some great lessons learned for us.
“The World Cup is still a year-and-a-half away. Fortunately, these games don't count for [World Cup qualifying] points. We have got to see it as a great learning experience.”
Domingo also rued the injuries to Litton and Mustafizur Rahman, who missed the second ODI. Litton is one of the few all-format batters in good form for Bangladesh.
“We didn’t have couple of important players in both formats. We didn’t have Shakib [Al Hasan, for the T20Is], Mustafizur and Litton didn’t play today. Hopefully they are back and fit,” Domingo said.
“The confidence is not high in T20s at the moment. Although we have made some improvements in our batting in the last couple of games, we have some way to go. It takes one or two wins in that format to get a bit of momentum.”