Having suffered a dramatic collapse in the third T20I, which eventually decided the fate of the series, Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah agreed that there was a long way to go for the side to compete with bigger teams in the shortest format.
Coming into the final match of the series, with the honours level, Bangladesh were cruising in the chase of 175. Mohammad Naim and Mohammad Mithun had stitched a 98-run stand in 61 balls and left the visitors with only 65 to get in 48 balls. With heavy dew in the outfield, the odds were in favour of the Mahmudullah-led side.However, a collapse triggered by Shivam Dube, followed by Deepak Chahar's six-fer, which included a hat-trick, had India bundle out Bangladesh for 144. It wasn't the first time that Bangladesh had slipped at a crucial moment and lost the contest in which they were comfortably placed. Most notably, their inability to hold their nerves in the shortest format has shown up against India.
"If I have to say about T20 format, we have a long way to go," Mahmudullah said after the loss on Sunday (November 11). "We have to find out a lot of things. We don't have big hitters. We have to be dependent on our skills, especially as a batting group. Our game sense needs to improve and we need to become more consistent mentally. So as a batting unit, if we can improve then we will have more chances to win.
"I am not sure whether it was the [lack of] composure or not. But if you see, we have made similar kind of mistakes in a few games in recent times. That's where I think big teams are quite good. They are very consistent on these matters so that they can chase down such totals."
Mahmudullah explained Mithun's promotion to No 4, ahead of Mushfiqur Rahim as a move to stabilise Bangladesh's innings. However, despite a good performance by the youngster, the experienced hands that followed, failed to build on that, which eventually cost Bangladesh the game.
"We had a chance when we needed 49 off 30 balls. But in the end, we lost a few wickets. We could have wrapped it up. That's what cost the match for us," he said. "T20 cricket is such a format, if you lose momentum then it's very hard to get it back. We were very close in this game but we lost three-four wickets in six or seven balls. That was the crucial part of the game.
"We wanted to stabilize the innings because we had already lost two wickets. So we thought that [it will be good] if Mithun goes in and takes a bit of time and puts on a good partnership, which he did [with Naim]. I think the partnership between Naim and Mithun was incredible. The partnership was there and it's good to see, especially young Naim batted so well in this series. But once again, it all came down to that part where we lost a few wickets in a cluster."As a senior batsman in the group, Mahmudullah took the blame on himself for the defeat. "Yeah, if you say about today's game, yes we [seniors] failed. That I agree because we had an opportunity but we couldn't make it."
Despite a disappointing finish to a series in which Bangladesh showed a lot of promise, and barring the second game in Rajkot, competed on par with India - a team they had never earlier won against in the shortest format. Looking at the positives from the series, the skipper pointed at the performances of the youngsters - Naim, Animul Islam and Al Amin Hossain.
"His [Naim] innings was beautiful to watch. I am feeling bad that we could not finish it, the middle order failed. That's why I have more regret because he batted so well," he said. "So at least for him, if we could have finished well, he could have taken more credit. He has performed consistently. It's very hard to be consistent in T20s. You can be consistent in Test and one-day matches but it's really hard (in T20).
"Al Amin was also brilliant. I think he is one of the best T20 bowlers from our country. I personally feel that. If you see his career statistics, in international or domestic or in BPL, he has always been a consistent performer. So I was confident that he could do well.
"[Apart from that] Biolob's [Aminul] performance and the rest of bowling unit was also very good, Mushy's [Mushfiqur Rahim] innings was special[in the opener]. These were the positives.
"When we first came here, many thought that we would lose the series 3-0. But we won the first game and we all had so much ambition. Maybe we couldn't [win it eventually] but overall, I think we played good cricket," he concluded.