Due to a series of disappointments going back to an underwhelming World Cup campaign, Bangladesh’s game planning has been marked by a sense of restlessness recently.
The team management had come up with what can charitably called some unconventional thinking –whether it was opting for an all-spin attack in the one-off Test against Afghanistan earlier this month or promoting a middle-order bulwark like Mushfiqur Rahim to open the innings for the very first time in his 12-year career in their second match of the ongoing T20I tri-series.
The ploy of unsettling the opposition by doing something out of the box backfired and instead unsettled the Tigers themselves as they were going away from their strengths. Following the 25-run defeat against Afghanistan in their second match the selectors made significant changes to the squad, which hinted at more restlessness in the thought process.
Thankfully for head coach Russell Domingo, despite playing two debutants in the form of Najmul Hossain Shanto and Aminul Islam in their game against Zimbabwe yesterday, the Tigers returned to banking on their strengths and put the pieces of the puzzle in the right places in the playing eleven.
Although Nazmul failed to make an impact on debut and was dismissed after scoring nine, the positive was to see the left-hander batting in his specialist opening position, where he has been playing the game since the start of his career.
Fellow opener Liton Das provided a quick start and utilised the first Powerplay, which is his role, as Bangladesh raced to 55 for two in the first six overs.
Thanks to Liton’s 22-ball 38 seizing the early initiative, the Tigers’ dressing room was relaxed and despite losing Liton and also skipper Shakib Al Hasan cheaply, the early momentum kept Bangladesh going.
The experienced Mushfiqur Rahim, coming in to bat at his regular number four position, and Mahmudullah Riyad did their part as key players and made sure that the Tigers capitalised on their advantage.
The pair added 78 valuable runs for the fourth wicket and after Mushfiqur was dismissed for 32, Mahmudullah did his best to stay till the end – which he almost accomplished before being dismissed with just three balls remaining -- as Bangladesh posted 175 for seven, their highest T20I total against Zimbabwe.
There were no unorthodox or out-of-the-box game plans with the bat for Bangladesh; instead it was ticking the right boxes right that helped the Tigers regain some lost confidence.