Served hot: A Texan nightmare to Bangladesh | Crickit

Served hot: A Texan nightmare to Bangladesh

May 24, 2024 09:12 PM IST

Two consecutive wins for USA adds heft to call for more opportunities to associates

In a season of norwesters, this is one storm that has hit Bangladesh from nowhere. What was supposed to be an innocuous warmup to the T20 World Cup has now turned into an inescapable nightmare, with Bangladesh losing two matches in a row at Texas to hosts United States (nine ranks below them) to become the first team to lose 100 T20Is. A third T20I remains, leaving considerable doubt whether Bangladesh are at all capable of pulling one back.

Still from the T20I series between USA and Bangladesh(X/BCBTigers)
Still from the T20I series between USA and Bangladesh(X/BCBTigers)

How they lost their composure in both defeats has a lot to do with this lack of faith. Setting USA a target of 154 In the first T20I, Bangladesh could take just five wickets as the hosts romped home with three balls to spare. Then in a chase of 145 in the second T20I, Bangladesh looked well-placed at 106/4 in the 15th over before losing the next six wickets for just 32 runs to be bowled out for 138 in 19.3 overs. Curiously however, this defeat shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore given Bangladesh’s underwhelming record.

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USA have become the 15th team—and the fifth Associate nation—to defeat Bangladesh in T20Is. Before this, Bangladesh have been defeated by Scotland, Hong Kong, Netherland and Ireland (in 2009, when they were still not given Test status).

"Certainly it is disappointing and we didn't expect it but we must give credit to the US team for the way they have played," said Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh’s most experienced player. "I think no one expected that we will lose two games. Any match you lose as a team is disappointing and you don't want to lose a game and obviously it is very disappointing. But having said that we have to play the World Cup and this series might be a wake-up call for us as we haven't played the way we want to play.”

That might be easier said than done. For all the engrossing victories Bangladesh have authored over the years, they have also been blighted by catastrophic defeats brought upon by recklessness and rush-of-blood batting. Critics have often pointed out their predilection for harakiri when the asking rate doesn’t even warrant risky batting. Basics of innings-building like consolidating starts, rotating the strike and waiting for the right time to step up the attack have often seemed to be lacking. The consecutive defeats to the USA therefore weren’t entirely unexpected.

This string of wins definitely shows the hosts, and to a greater extent all the associate nations, in favourable light at a time the game has made the cut for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. New World Cup qualifiers like Papua New Guinea, Uganda and Namibia too have begun to underscore the significance of the ICC’s global outreach.

Take the top four-five nations out of the equation and the gap between the rest too isn’t much. In the last year alone, Pakistan have lost to Afghanistan and Bangladesh and most recently, Ireland. UAE have won against Afghanistan, New Zealand have lost twice against Nepal, who have qualified for this T20 World Cup. And now USA, only 27 T20 matches old and comprising a bunch of Asian-origin players, have got two past Bangladesh.

"This shows the world what we can do if we are given the opportunities,”said Ali Khan, who ended the second T20I with match-winning figures of 3/23, including the vital wicket of Shakib. “If you just keep playing at this associate level or lower levels, you're gonna stay there. But if you have more opportunities to play against bigger sides, the top 10 teams, there's definitely ways of doing an upset. And this is a clear picture of that. And I think, definitely associate cricket should be given more opportunities against the full members that will help us showcase our talent and what we have to show the world.

"We are hungry, we're just hungry. And we're gonna try to eat whoever comes in our way. Especially, this is the time where we can make some changes…All the guys are hungry, as I said, and we are really looking forward to the World Cup, and I'm sure USA will be there to do an upset.”

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