Bangladesh needed one of their No. 3 - 6 - Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman or Mahmudullah - to bat through the last ten overs in their chase of 196 against South Africa in the 1st T20I. That, according to batsman Soumya Sarkar, would have given the side the anchor they needed in their steep pursuit. As it happened, however, the four batsmen contributed only 48 runs and South Africa won quite comfortably by 20 runs in the end, leaving Bangladesh winless on the tour so far.
"If someone from No. 3 to 6 could have played a big innings in the last 10 overs, it would have helped us," Sarkar said. "Then we would have had a set batsman at the crease in the last 10 overs, making things easier for us. They made nearly 200 runs but we also made 175. If one batsman did well in the middle overs, we could have won the game easily. But this [performance] will give us confidence that we can also score 200 runs."
Sarkar had his first good outing on the tour on Thursday, with a boundary-studded 31-ball 47 that gave Bangladesh's chase a powerful start. He shared brief, but brisk, partnerships with Imrul Kayes, Shakib and Mushfiqur, but once Sarkar fell in the tenth over, Bangladesh's batting gave way too quickly. They slipped to 101 for 5 from 92 for 2, before Sabbir, Mehidy Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin provided some big hits to finish on 175 for 9.
Sarkar, who had scores of 9, 3 and 8 in his previous matches on the tour, defended Bangladesh's selection for this match. The visitors picked four pace bowlers and two frontline spinners, and went with one batsman short in the game.
"If you want to talk about negative things, there are a lot of things to talk about," he said. "If the bowlers did well and we played one less, you would have said we should have picked one extra bowler. Now that the batsmen couldn't do the job, you are saying we needed one more batsman.
"There's no end to these things; you think that we had one batsman less, but our captain and team management thought this was the best way to go about things," he said.
Sarkar, however, admitted that Bangladesh have to overcome their weakness of playing too many dot balls, something the bowlers are unable to enforce on the opposition.
"Dot balls are a big problem in T20s. We have to reduce that in the next game. Even when we bowled or fielded, we should have saved more runs or not given away the no-ball that went for four. They would have scored 20 runs fewer. Chasing 170-odd would have been a different story," said Sarkar.