With the India-Namibia match on Monday, the Super 12 phase of the World Cup T20 2021 came to an end. Now Australia, England, Pakistan and New Zealand move on to the semi-finals as they vie for the trophy.
Bangladesh are a team whose World Cup campaign was marred with constant failures as they could not win any of the matches and not only that they were probably the most underperforming team in the Super 12 phase as even minnows Namibia won a match and Scotland also put up a god show. The only team that looked nowhere near the level they should be was Bangladesh.
In hindsight, Bangladesh were destined for nothing but failure at the World Cup.
t started with Bangladesh banking heavily on their T20I series wins against a second-string Australia and New Zealand at home in the lead-up to the tournament. On Dhaka pitches where batting was difficult, if not impossible, the 4-1 and 3-2 wins gave them a lift all right, but hardly prepared them for the tracks in the UAE, not to mention the improved oppositions.
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Domingo and Mahmudullah insisted that the wins over Australia and New Zealand were crucial, because they needed wins under their belt, but it came at a cost: lack of proper preparedness.
But it was an attempt at finding a shortcut to success. Those close to the team feel that the batting group became so familiar at seeing 110-120 as winning scores that they couldn't quite adjust to different batting conditions. The lack of confidence was obvious when they couldn't get out of the blocks against Scotland and Oman. Their average total in the Super 12s was 118.2.
In between, the management opted for a radical change in the batting order. It came across as an admirable decision at first. In pushing Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim to Nos. 7 and 8, it at least it looked like they were trying something different. But it ended up as a one-off, a big move after the Scotland loss, and just that.
The batting, in particular, was a struggle all along. They were inadequate against spin, averaging only 13.66 (considerably down from the 20.20 over the last three years). But they also had no answer against fast, short bowling, particularly against South Africa and Australia. They averaged 32 in the powerplays, one of the lowest in the tournament. They couldn't settle on an opening pair either, which might - fairly or not - lead to questions about why Tamim Iqbal couldn't be convinced to play.
The rest of it wasn't much better either. They dropped 11 catches in total. When it came to the quick bowlers - perhaps the one area where Bangladesh held their own - they left Mustafizur Rahman out on a pacy, bouncy pitch against South Africa, and Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam, who finished the tournament strongly, were brought into the XI too late.
Now, looking at how things have been in Bangladesh cricket over the years, it might be time for heads to roll. Changes are needed, and they must come, but restricting these to just the playing unit might not be a fair call.