‘A real eye-opener’ – England suffer T20 series whitewash in Bangladesh
Head coach Matthew Mott reflected ruefully on England’s untidy fielding and admitted sliding to a T20 series clean sweep by Bangladesh leaves a “sour taste in our mouths”.
Chasing 159, the double world champions lurched from 100 for one to 128 for six before eventually subsiding to 142 for six to lose this dead rubber by 16 runs as Bangladesh wrapped up a 3-0 series win.
While Mott feels the dismissals of Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler from successive balls after a 95-run stand were pivotal, the Australian lamented a messy fielding display in which the overall standard fell far below expectations.
Rehan Ahmed and Ben Duckett dropping simple catches were the standout errors before England’s quicks shone at the back end, restricting Bangladesh to 27 runs in the last five overs in their 158 for two.
“That one hurts,” said Mott, whose England side claimed a 2-1 win in the ODI series last week. “We turned up trying to square the ledger a little bit with three (wins) and three (losses).
“To finish the way we did will leave a bit of a sour taste in our mouths. I thought we were on, the lead-in was good, everyone was up and about but for whatever reason, we just couldn’t get the clean hands with the ball in the air or along the ground.
“It should act as a real eye-opener on where we need to improve. Bangladesh definitely outfielded us in most of the games but particularly in this match. That’s something we’re going to focus a lot on.
“We showed a bit of ticker at the back end to wrestle some momentum back but I think with the best of hindsight, they were still at least 15 or 20 runs over par on that wicket. We paid heavily for those mistakes.”
Litton Das top-scored for Bangladesh with 73 off 57 deliveries while Najmul Hossain Shanto’s ended his fine series with an unbeaten 47 off 36 balls although he was shackled by England at the back end.
England’s flimsy batting has been under the microscope in this series but after losing Phil Salt in the first over of the chase, Malan’s 53 off 47 balls and Buttler’s 40 off 31 deliveries steadied them.
But Malan got a feather of a top-edge on a pull to wicketkeeper Litton and, from the very next ball, a spectacular pick-up and off-balance throw from Mehidy Hasan Miraz ran out Buttler.
That exposed England’s middle-order to a wearing pitch and they could not build momentum thereafter in the final assignment of a largely successful winter, where they scooped the T20 World Cup in Australia.
“The turning point was the run-out, it was an amazing piece of fielding,” said Mott. “It was a pretty freakish run-out. I was actually looking at the other end to see what was happening and then all of a sudden the bails lit up.
“You back yourself with Jos set at the back end, he got his eye in and was ready to go and it really turned the game.”
Mott, though, insisted there were no regrets at not drafting in an extra batter to their 13-strong squad to offer more options after the injury withdrawals of Tom Abell and Will Jacks before the series.
“If you look at how many players we’ve exposed this year alone, we’ve gone a fair way down the depths charts,” said Mott, whose side will defend their 50-over World Cup in India this year.
“There was a realisation that we were probably better off investing in some batters here and putting them under pressure in these games.
“You only learn from your mistakes and the opportunities they were given here will give them time to reflect and when we get into pressure situations in World Cups, I am confident that it will have been the right decision.”
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