Even before taking the field for the first ODI against New Zealand in Napier yesterday, which Bangladesh lost by eight wickets, the odds were stacked against them as the full squad reached the country only on February 10.
The Tigers' innings of 232 all out in 48.5 overs on what skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza later called a good batting wicket suggested that they were still recovering from the trek to New Zealand. The late arrival, occasioned by the Bangladesh Premier League that ended on February 8, also meant that many of the players could not take part in the one-day warm-up match on February 10.
Therefore, there is not much scope to be too critical of the Tigers' performance as New Zealand conditions tests the best teams and it perhaps would have been expecting too much for Bangladesh to notch their first win against the hosts in New Zealand. There were enough positives, like Mohammad Mithun's 62 and his 84-run eighth-wicket partnership with Mohammad Saifuddin after Bangladesh were reduced to 84 for six, following some questionable shot selection from the top order.
There were also enough positives in the bowling as Bangladesh, without the injured Shakib Al Hasan, kept the Kiwis quiet for a while but there were not enough runs to put pressure on the opposition. Opener Martin Guptill hit an unbeaten 116-ball 117 to take the side home with 5.3 overs to spare.
With two more matches remaining on February 16 and 20, Mashrafe and Co will know that they need just a bit more adjustment to conditions as well as shrewder shot selection.