After suffering a fifth defeat, the Bangladesh captain said this World Cup campaign was their worst
“Without a doubt,” was Shakib Al Hasan’s reply when asked if this was Bangladesh’s worst ever ODI World Cup campaign. He was speaking shortly after they suffered their fifth consecutive defeat in six matches, an 87-run loss to the Netherlands in Kolkata.
The end came soon at Eden Gardens. As thousands of Bangladeshi fans who crossed the border to cheer for their team made a beeline for the exit, the last two wickets – Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed – fell in the space of three balls. One of the banners held by Bangladesh fans read: “Our goal is always the next World Cup”, a dig at BCB president Nazmul Hassan’s comment from 2022. This campaign, with Bangladesh in the ninth place, above England and below the Netherlands, is all but above.
“You can say that [it is Bangladesh’s worst World Cup performance] without a doubt,” Shakib said after his team was dismissed for 142 in the 43rd over while chasing just 230. “I don’t have an answer as to why we are playing. We enjoyed the field. We bowled well. We haven’t been hitting the way we’ve been hitting throughout the tournament. This is a big concern. Today was another day when we completely gave the Dutch two points. It’s hard to swallow. It is very difficult to digest. These things can happen in cricket.”
He said that only Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah bat well, and agreed that Mahmudullah should have been given a higher position in the line-up. “As a batting unit, if you ask me to summarize our six matches, I would say that we have been very poor. Apart from Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim, all the other batters have not been up to the mark.
“If our batters are good at the top, Riyad [Mahmudullah] and Mushfiq could have done their roles. I agree with you that it might be Riyad bhai bathed higher in the order, we should have done well. Other than that, we’re all disappointed.”
Bangladesh have been restricted or dismissed for less than 250 in four of their last five matches, with 256 for 8 against India on a flat surface in Pune being their highest World Cup score. 142 on Saturday against the Netherlands was their lowest.
Shakib said the change of captaincy months before the World Cup could affect Bangladesh. Tamim Iqbal, the ODI captain, suddenly retired during the home series against Afghanistan in July, but he reversed his decision at the request of the country’s prime minister. In the end, Tamim did not make the World Cup squad on fitness grounds and he was criticized by Shakib during a television interview before the team left for India.
“It is possible,” Shakib said, when asked if the Tamim episode had affected the team. “It’s not unusual. I don’t know what’s in everyone’s heart. I won’t argue with you. It might have an effect.
“It’s natural that plans change when the captain and coach change. It’s hard to keep the same plan. It can be a good or bad plan. Everyone has a different mindset. We don’t know what’s wrong and rightly so. . It’s hard for me to say why our performance didn’t reflect our game before.”
Shakib said Bangladesh’s lead in the World Cup was not enough of a challenge. “The team gets confidence after winning games regardless of the conditions. We lost in England and Afghanistan recently. We won two series against Ireland. We didn’t do well in the Asia Cup if you negate India’s victory. We have underperformed in this World Cup as well.
“We are not such a bad team. It could be the World Cup or this atmosphere, high expectations. It could be many other things. We need to know, but if we do it, we can find the answers .”
Bangladesh’s next fixture is also in Kolkata but Shakib was not positive when looking ahead to the match against Pakistan on October 31. “It is very difficult to make a turnaround. It is very difficult. . It is very difficult to forget the game. now it’s the next game.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84