Kane Williamson twice skied the ball over the heads of outfielders during the course of his unbeaten 73 © AFP
Twice during New Zealand’s chase in the first T20I against Bangladesh in Napier, Kane Williamson escaped being caught at the boundary, with the fielder stationed several yards inside the rope on both occasions. First, with New Zealand needing 61 off 41 balls, Soumya Sarkar was about 10 yards inside the rope at deep midwicket, enabling Williamson’s slog to clear him and go for four. In the 16th over, Williamson saw his powerful loft towards long-off sail over Imrul Kayes, who couldn’t backtrack far enough in time to complete the catch.
Both times the fielders made tactical errors that could have put New Zealand under pressure given that they only had one recognised batsman in the dressing room, Luke Ronchi. Bangladesh eventually lost by six wickets. Mashrafe Mortaza, their captain, felt his team could have regained control of the game had either of those moments resulted in a catch. He said, however, that the two fielders, whom he called the best in the team, may have moved off the rope to try and cut off twos.
“Maybe [Sarkar] was 5-10 yards inside because that side of the ground was bigger,” Mashrafe said. “There weren’t any instructions but he thought he could manage by backtracking, but he couldn’t. I didn’t really see whether Imrul Kayes was standing too far inside. You can call it a misjudgment but our best fielders were standing in those positions. Maybe they thought that they could adjust themselves as they were looking to cut off the twos. If any of those catches were taken, the game could have shifted towards us, especially the one in Shakib’s over [the one that cleared Sarkar].”
More than these incidents, Mashrafe said the key moment that turned the game came when Bangladesh slipped to 30 for 4 in the sixth over, after Lockie Ferguson took two wickets off his first two deliveries in T20Is. Mahmudullah’s 52 dragged Bangladesh to 141, but Mashrafe said he could have done with better support at the other end, and felt that was an issue that had dogged the team through their tour so far.
“The turning point was when we were 30 for four. It also put us back,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for Mahmudullah’s unbelievable innings, we wouldn’t reach 141.
“You would have seen that at least one batsman stepped up in our four international matches on this tour so far. But there wasn’t a collective effort with two or more batsmen also making contributions. Nobody has been supporting the batsman who is doing well. I think this is becoming a turning point for us.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo