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Mahmudullah's resurgence eases batting concerns ahead of World Cup

Sports Desk
16 May 2024 19:39:08 | Update: 16 May 2024 19:39:08
Mahmudullah's resurgence eases batting concerns ahead of World Cup
— Courtesy Photo

Despite a recent string of inconsistent performances from Bangladesh's top-order batters, head coach Chandika Hathurusingha exudes cautious optimism ahead of the T20 World Cup. While acknowledging the team's vulnerabilities, he says the return to form of veteran all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad is a major boost.

The recent home series against Zimbabwe exposed a worrying trend in Bangladesh's top-order. Openers Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Soumya Sarkar showed flashes of brilliance but failed to deliver consistent performances. Litton Das, a mainstay of the batting lineup, has also been struggling to find his rhythm. Captain Najmul Hossain Shanto, too, fell short of expectations, adding to the anxieties surrounding the top order's reliability, reports UNB.

“Some matches we managed to get a good start, and some matches when we don't get a good start, we managed to finish well strong," Hathurusingha observed in a press conference on Wednesday in Mirpur. “Everybody got an opportunity to bat in the middle; that was a positive.”

He acknowledged the individual disappointment of batters seeking more time at the crease but emphasised the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket. “In T20 cricket, anything can happen. It's a very different game to the other two formats,” he said.

Hathurusingha remains confident that the upcoming practice matches will provide crucial opportunities to address these concerns.

“We would love our top order to score all the time,” he admitted, “but I'm confident that we have five matches leading up to the first game. We will be able to get those areas of concern sorted.”

A silver lining for Bangladesh is the resurgence of Mahmudullah. After years of battling inconsistent form and questions about his age and fitness, the veteran all-rounder has roared back to life. After years of battling inconsistent form, Mahmudullah roared back to life with a dominant BPL season, racking up 237 runs at a strike rate over 134 and an average exceeding 29. He solidified his comeback with two crucial fifties in his last five T20Is, proving his worth and securing his place in the World Cup squad.

Mahmudullah's expected role in the World Cup is multifaceted. He'll be tasked, as the head coach hinted, with stabilising the innings if the top-order collapses, injecting much-needed momentum in the middle overs. Furthermore, he's been earmarked as a potential finisher, a role vital for any T20 side. His experience and composure under pressure will be crucial assets as Bangladesh navigates the challenges of the World Cup.

“He's been playing regularly, and his comeback, I thought, was strong,” Hathurusingha, who previously showed less faith in the veteran, now recognises Mahmudullah's vital role. “Lately, if you see, he's playing his best cricket. He's changed a lot in the way he approaches batting. He's in good form.”