Bangladesh were without three of their most experienced players in the T20I series opener against New Zealand

Afif Hossain top-scored for Bangladesh with a 33-ball 45 in the 1st T20I. © Getty
Bangladesh T20 skipper Mahmudullah has urged youngsters in the side to step up and showcase their mettle in the absence of senior pros. New Zealand romped to victory by 66 runs in the T20I series opener at Hamilton on Sunday against a side that was missing Tamim Iqbal (personal reasons), Shakib Al Hasan (paternity leave) and Mushfiqur Rahim (shoulder injury).
Mushfiqur’s injury ahead of this fixture could likely rule him out of the remaining two games with team management eager to preserve the veteran for the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka.
Despite defeat in the opener, Bangladesh’s captain was encouraged by the performance of Afif Hossain (45) and Naim Sheikh (27) with both batsmen displaying positive intent during their time in the middle. Debutant spinner Nasum Ahmed too impressed with figures of 2 for 30.
“I think it was a very good chance for players like Naim Sheikh, Afif (Hossain) and the two debutants today to show the world how good they are but we need to put a step up as we won’t get a squad filled with experienced players, and we need to deal with that,” Mahmudullah told reporters after the match. “So someone [new member] needs to raise his hands up [and contribute]. They are very talented and capable to win matches for Bangladesh.”
Mahmudullah felt his team created chances but couldn’t take them. Other debutant Shoriful Islam caught Devon Conway on the boundary but it was given six after replays showed that he touched the boundary cushions while completing the catch. Conway, who reached his 50 in the process, off 37 balls, then hit 39 off his next 12 to push the score past 200.
“I straight away had asked my fielder Shoriful, to be sure whether it was a six or not, but he seemed confused, so I thought it had probably gone for six. It was a very tiny gap to see, but it’s okay, as, at the end of the day, it was the umpire’s call, and we need to respect that,” said Mahmudullah.
“I think we had a chance, in the field; in the first few overs we took a couple of wickets, their runs were under seven runs per over, but the way Devon (Conway) has batted, I think he has been prolific in his batting, he has been very consistent in his last few innings. But we had our chances, as I had said, in the boundary, but it went for six. I think the bowlers bowled really well, we can’t really blame them.
“Maybe a slight misfielding that cost us a few more boundaries. If the target was something around 190, then I think, it would have been chased. Having said that, losing wickets in clusters made the difference, for which we couldn’t win the game. That’s what we are doing, keep repeating the mistakes, but one positive thing I’d like to take, that the intent was there, which is a good thing.
“T20 games are quite uncertain, as you can be bowled out on a 100-120 score on a particular day, but you have to show that will to win,” he concluded.