Mashrafe laments missed chances against South Africa

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Mirpur (Bangladesh), July 6 (IANS) Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza has regretted his side’s defeat in the T20 series opener against South Africa, saying the match could have been close if they were more focussed.

Powered by a splendid unbeaten knock from captain Faf du Plessis, South Africa scored 148/4 in the first of the two Twenty20 Internationals. In reply, the hosts were skittled out for a meagre 96 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here on Sunday, reports

The chase, however, was on track with the hosts on 50/2 at one stage with Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim going well.

“We failed to utilise the chance. It would have been close if we were a bit more focused. I hope we will try harder if the next match reaches such state,” Mashrafe said.

Mushfiqur’s departure started the slide as Sabbir Rahman and Nasir Hossain failed to stay with Shakib, who walked back himself under the weight of the climbing required rate. Only three of their batsmen reached two-digit scores as the hosts lost their last eight wickets for 48 runs and folded up for their lowest total at home.

Mashrafe asked his teammates to play according to the situation in the next match at the same venue on Tuesday.

“When Sabbir went to the crease, we needed around 7-8 runs per over and nearly nine when Nasir went in. So they wanted to score off bad balls. But they tried to play too many shots,” said the fast bowler.

“As we have been successful playing aggressively, it is natural to not want to change the style of play. But playing according to situation, too, is necessary. I hope the batsmen will be a bit thoughtful in such situations in future.”

The right-armer feels Bangladesh lacked partnerships needed to chase down the target on the slow track. “They scored around 10 runs more but it could’ve been chased down by building partnerships.”

Shakib and Mushfiqur’s 36 runs for the third wicket was Bangladesh’s highest stand. South African batsmen handled spin better than their counterparts and that was crucial, according to Mashrafe.

The Asian team had started the game well as Arafat Sunny and Nasir Hossain struck early to take out their openers, including the dangerous AB de Villiers in the first over.

“Sunny has opened bowling many times before so I planned to start with him. Maybe they presumed that Sohag (Gazi) will come from the other end so I brought Nasir in. And that gave us some success,” said the 31-year-old.

The captain also thinks Man-of-the-Match du Plessis’ 61-ball 79 was the difference between the two teams.

“Du Plessis batted till the end and that made the difference. He adopted to this kind of wicket playing for Chennai Super Kings. So he handled spin very well. If we could have taken him out, they would have scored 10-15 runs less,” concluded Mashrafe.

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