Shakib Al Hasan answered, “without a doubt,” when asked if this was Bangladesh’s worst ODI World Cup campaign. He was commenting soon after they had lost to Netherlands in Kolkata by 87 runs, their sixth straight loss in six games.
At Eden Gardens, the end had arrived suddenly. The final two wickets, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed, went in the space of three balls as thousands of Bangladeshi supporters who had crossed the border to support their team rushed for the exits. “Our aim is always next World Cup” was written on one of the banners raised by Bangladeshi fans, which was a jab at BCB president Nazmul Hassan’s 2022 statement. Bangladesh is in ninth place, above England but below the Netherlands, meaning that this campaign is all but ended.
Shakib declared, “You can say that [it is Bangladesh’s worst World Cup performance] without any doubt,” following his team’s 43rd over dismissal for 142, despite needing to reach only 230. “I don’t know why we played the way that we did. In the field, we were careless. We bowled really well. Throughout the tournament, we haven’t batted as well as we could have. It is really concerning. We completely handed the Dutch the two points today as well. It is difficult to ingest. It is really challenging to process. These occurrences are possible in cricket.”
He acknowledged that Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim were the only two players batting well and that Mahmudullah ought to have been positioned higher in the lineup. If I had to summarize our six games as a batting team, I would say that we were horrible. Every batter except Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim was below average.
“Mushfiq and Riyad [Mahmudullah] could have fulfilled their duties if our batters performed well at the top. I agree that we might have performed better if Riyad bhai had batted higher in the order. We’ve all been disappointing except from that.”
In four of the previous five matches, Bangladesh has been bowled out for less than 250 runs, and their highest World Cup score to far was 256 for 8 against India on a level Pune pitch. Their lowest score was 142 on Saturday versus the Netherlands.
Bangladesh might have been impacted by the captain change that occurred a few months prior to the World Cup, according to Shakib. The captain of the ODI team, Tamim Iqbal, abruptly announced his retirement during the home series against Afghanistan in July, but he later changed his mind at the prime minister’s request. Ultimately, Tamim was criticized by Shakib in a TV appearance shortly before the team departed for India, and he was not included in the World Cup roster due to fitness concerns.
Shakib responded, “It could be,” when asked if the Tamim incident had an impact on the team. “That is not peculiar. I have no idea what goes through everyone’s mind. I don’t think you’re wrong. It might have had a consequence.
“It is normal for the plans to alter when the coach and captain do. Maintaining the same plan is hard. It could be a wise or foolish plan. Everybody thinks in a distinct way. We have no idea what is right or wrong. I find it hard to explain why our performance wasn’t what we had played previously.”
Bangladesh’s World Cup preparations had not been difficult enough, according to Shakib. “After winning games under any circumstances, the team gains confidence. Afghanistan and England were our recent defeats. We defeated Ireland in two series. If you take away India’s victory in the Asia Cup, we haven’t performed well. We’ve also performed poorly in this World Cup.
As a squad, we’re not that horrible. It it be the World Cup, the mood, or the high hopes. There are plenty other possibilities. We may find the answers if we put in the effort, but we still need to find out.”
The next match for Bangladesh is also scheduled to take place in Kolkata, but Shakib did not seem optimistic about the October 31 match against Pakistan. “Making a change is quite difficult. It is really challenging. All we can do is try; that’s all we have. It is really challenging to forget about today’s match before the next one.”